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Long IslandNassau

Cops: Freeport man, 23, charged with hate crime

A 23-year-old Freeport man has been arrested and charged with a hate crime following a Nov. 6 attack in Merrick.

Nassau County police said Michael Ebinger, of 48 Hillside Ave., was arrested early Thursday morning and charged with second-degree menacing as a hate crime, a Class E felony, as well as second-degree aggravated harassment and violation of probation. He is scheduled for arraignment Thursday in First District Court, Hempstead.

Police previously arrested a 16-year-old, Frank Carney of Bellmore, in connection with the incident - which occurred on Alice Avenue in Merrick at 7:25 p.m. on Nov. 6. Carney was charged that day with second-degree menacing as a hate crime and second-degree aggravated harassment, police said.

It was then, police said, that a Ebinger and Carney, driving in a dark-colored Nissan, approached a 22-year-old man walking down the street and began to yell "anti-gay slurs" at him. The vehicle stopped - and, police said, two of the occupants, one armed with a knife, chased the victim.

It was unclear Thursday morning if Ebinger and Carney were the two who chased the victim or if there were others in the car. It also was unclear which attacker had the knife.

Police said the attackers got back into the car and drove off when the victim ran to a door - and rang the bell, seeking help. The victim was not injured in the attack, police said.