Thousands of New Yorkers marched in Manhattan yesterday to protest the killing of Mark Carson, who was gunned down late Friday night after being taunted with homophobic slurs. The march began at the LGBT Community Center and proceeded to the corner of West 8th Street and Sixth avenue, where Carson was killed. Christine Quinn, New York’s first openly gay City Council speaker, led the march with Edie Windsor, the 83-year-old widow whose Defense of Marriage Act challenge is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court. Nearly every major candidate for mayor and many city council members were there as well, as was one of Carson’s aunts, Flourine Bompars:
“He was a loving and caring person who is also loved and will be truly missed. And the family would also to have justice be served so that Mark’s death is not in vain,” Carson’s aunt, Flourine Bompars, said at the rally..
Elliot Morales, 32, was arrested and charged with Carson’s murder. He is being held without bail.
Carson’s death is part of a disturbing trend in New York. So far this year, there have been 24 bias-motivated crimes, compared to 14 as of this time last year. Carson’s murder was the fifth anti-gay attack in two weeks:
In the first incident on May 5, Nick Porto and his partner, Kevin Atkins, were beaten near Madison Square Garden after a group of men wearing Knicks shirts called them anti-gay slurs. Porto spoke at the rally Monday.
On May 7, a man was assaulted by someone hurling anti-gay slurs in Union Square, according to the Anti-Violence Project.
On May 8, a man was attacked by two people shouting anti-gay slurs as he left Pieces, a gay bar on Christopher Street, according to the Anti-Violence Project.
And early on May 10, two men tried to get into an after-hours billiards hall on West 32nd Street but were not let in, police said. They were then approached by a group of approximately five others who proceeded to shout anti-gay slurs and beat the men, police said.
Police have promised to increase their presence in the Christopher Street area and in nearby neighborhoods through Gay Pride at the end of June. New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott has announced that the city’s 1,700 public schools will hold emergency assemblies about hate crimes bullying by the end of the school year.