The New York Police Department has identified one of the suspects in last week’s bias-related attack on Dwan Prince, a Brooklyn gay man who remains in critical condition after a brutal assault outside the apartment building where the 27-year-old lives and works as a porter.
On Monday, police released a photograph of Steven Pomie, a 24-year-old resident of 270 East 95th Street in the Brownsville section, near the location of the attack at East 94th Street and Kings Highway. Pomie, described as 6-feet tall and weighing 170 pounds, was identified by witnesses as one of three male perpetrators who exited a black BMW as Prince was curbside, taking out the building’s trash. Shouting anti-gay epithets, the three punched Prince and beat him so severely, according to The New York Times, that a bystander offered to fight in the victim’s stead to spare Prince further injury.
After residents came to Prince’s assistance, the men fled in the dark vehicle, not before one of them dropkicked Prince in the head, knocking him unconscious. Police said that when confronted by bystanders, one of the attackers allegedly said, “Dwan is starting up his faggot shit again.”
On Thursday morning, June 16, volunteers with New York City’s Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project plan to poster the neighborhood with copies of Pomie’s photograph in order to help police solve the crime.
Because of the crime’s anti-gay bias, the Hate Crimes Task Force is leading the investigation in conjunction with detectives in the 67th Precinct.
Last Friday, witnesses rushed to Prince’s aid as the violence broke out on a street where residents had gathered on a warm weekend night. According to The Times, one witness said that after not feeling a heartbeat, neighbors began to hit Prince in the chest. “I wanted to keep some vibration in there,” said one man.
The Daily News quoted Omar Boscombe, 28, a witness to the final, savage kick. “He circled back and kicked the guy in the face. Then, blood started flowing from his mouth and he wasn’t breathing,” said Bascombe.
A police spokesman would not divulge what role Pomie played in the attack or if he had an arrest record.
The Daily News, as did 1010 WINS Radio, reported that Prince is HIV-positive.
Prince was reportedly put on a respirator, but one source said that as of June 15, the victim was breathing on his own. Police reported Prince as being in stable, but critical condition.
Clarence Patton, the acting executive director of the Anti-Violence Project, said that it was “gratuitous” for news outlets to report that Prince is HIV-positive. “I don’t understand what that has to do with the case,” said Patton.
The Daily News also reported that the attack was spurred when, according to witnesses, Prince made a flirtatious comment to one of his attackers. Words were exchanged before the suspect left, only to return a short time later with two other men.
Citing confidentiality regulations, an official at Brookdale Hospital in the Brownville section refused to confirm whether or not Dwan Prince was even a patient.
Anyone with information about the attack on Dwan Prince is asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.