Shouting an anti-gay slur, three assailants beat a man and his cross-dressing friend before stealing $7 from one of them, Nassau County police said Thursday.
One of the assailants has been charged with hate crimes, police said. Robert Bellamy Jr., 23, was charged with robbery and assault.
At his arraignment at First District Court in Hempstead Thursday, Judge Robert A. Bruno ordered the Lakeview man jailed on $100,000 bond or $50,000 cash bail.
The attack occurred in Lakeview in the early hours of Sunday and police said it was possible the man in drag was dressed in women's clothes for Halloween.
Bellamy told police, "God made me hate gay people," court records show. He was represented in court by Legal Aid Society lawyer Taryn Shechter, who said Bellamy attends a trade school in Wyandanch and lives with his mother.
County Executive Thomas Suozzi, who stood with Mulvey, called combating hate crime a "priority of our administration."
"If you commit a hate crime in Nassau County, we're going to do everything we can to arrest you, put you in jail and make your life miserable," Suozzi said.
Police said the same attackers had earlier approached one of the victims at a Sunoco gas station in Lakeview.
The attackers went into the station's convenience store, where they "focused in" on the first victim, Mulvey said. They then "began to harass . . . verbally and physically by pushing him" and calling him the anti-gay slur.
"They perceived him to be homosexual," Mulvey said.
Suozzi noted that a victim's actual sexual orientation is "irrelevant" to prosecute under hate crimes law. Officials did not disclose the victims' orientation.
The attack against both men occurred a short time later, on Woodfield Road near Janos Lane, when the same trio spotted the first man walking with his friend. They then began calling out the anti-gay slur, and punched and kicked both men. "They were beaten by fists," Mulvey said.
The attack left the victims with bruises, black eyes, and bloody lips, Mulvey said.
Detectives later tracked down the green Nissan in which the men had been traveling.