Connect with us

New York

New state charges against man who threatened LGBTQ+ New Yorkers

Fehring is being charged with criminal mischief and grand larceny as a hate crime in the Sayville, Long Island case

Published

on

Los Angeles Blade file photo by @strekoza.nyc

RIVERHEAD, Ny. – The man arrested by FBI agents on Monday charged in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York for mailing letters threatening to assault, shoot, and bomb LGBTQ+ affiliated individuals, organizations, and businesses, was arrested Tuesday on state charges.

Tri-state news outlet News 12 New York reported that Robert Fehring, 74, a resident of Bayport, New York on Long Island, surrendered to Suffolk County police detectives accused of stealing almost two dozen pride flags back in July from Long Railroad Avenue in Sayville.

Eileen Tyznar has organized the LGBTQ parade for the past three years in Sayville. She saysshe lived in fear and would constantly get threatening letters. She is now relieved Fehring was arrested she told News12.

The stolen pride flags inside his home were discovered while executing the Federal search warrant, Suffolk police said.

On November 18, 2021, members of the FBI’s Civil Rights Squad and the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force executed a search warrant at Fehring’s home in Bayport, New York, and recovered photographs from a June 2021 Pride event in East Meadow, New York, two loaded shotguns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, two stun guns, and a stamped envelope addressed to an LGBTQ+ affiliated attorney containing the remains of a dead bird. 

Fehring is being charged with criminal mischief and grand larceny as a hate crime in the Sayville case.

Robert Fehring, (right) with his attorney Glenn Obedin Tuesday
(Screenshot via News 12 New York)

In the Federal criminal complaint Fehring is accused of sending, according to the complaint, include one this year threatening to shoot a high-powered rifle at a Long Island Pride event in June; another warning a local Chamber of Commerce member that ambulances would be needed if the group allowed an L.G.B.T.Q. event to proceed; and a third describing a Brooklyn barbershop as a “perfect target for a bombing.”

Since at least 2013, Fehring had been sending individuals associated with the LGBTQ+ community letters in which he threatened violence, including threatening the use of firearms and explosives. 

In the criminal complaint and affidavit for arrest, federal prosecutors allege that one letter threatened that there would “be radio-cont[r]olled devices placed at numerous strategic places” at the 2021 New York City Pride March with “firepower” that would “make the 2016 Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting look like a cakewalk,” referencing the 2016 attack in which 49 persons were killed and dozens wounded at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

If convicted, Fehring, whom media outlets in New York identified as a retired high school teacher, band director and track coach, faces up to five years in prison.

Court records show that he sued the Suffolk County police unsuccessfully after being taken into custody in 2010 after an off-duty officer saw him hide a shotgun under a raincoat and bring it into a Long Island office building, the New York Times reported.

Gay City News editor  Matt Tracy reported that Fehring appeared in court on December 6 before Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke and was released on $100,000 bond. He is restricted to home detention with location monitoring, according to prosecutors. He is not allowed to have any firearms or “destructive devices,” is barred from contacting any of his alleged victims, and cannot go to the places he is said to have targeted.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

New York

A Black & Out Coney Island man speaks about horrific anti-gay assault

Edwards said he told NYPD the attackers voiced anti-LGBTQ remarks- NYPD source said nothing in the case notes indicate anti-gay comment

Published

on

Jawhar Edwards shows a picture of his face after he was attacked (Photo by Matt Tracy)

By Matt Tracy | BROOKLYN – With tears welling up in his eyes, Jawhar Edwards paused to collect himself before describing a traumatic moment last month when he said he was attacked in a brutal, homophobic assault on the Riegelmann Boardwalk in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn.

It was around midnight on November 4 when Edwards, an out gay man, said he departed a birthday celebration honoring his late godmother, who recently died of complications stemming from COVID-19. Edwards went to the part of the boardwalk between 19th Street and 21st Street to feed homeless individuals — something he has done for years — but this time his good deed was met with a serving of hate and a trip to the hospital.

“I got assaulted for being gay. They robbed me of my walker, my coat, and money in my pocket,” Edwards said during a December 10 rally and press conference organized by Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus. The rally took place outside of her district office at 2002 Mermaid Avenue.

Edwards said he usually sets up tables of food for those in need and allows folks to help themselves. This time, though, he said two attackers called him a “faggot” and hit him in the eye with a metal pole, causing three broken bones in his eye socket and vision loss in that eye. Bystanders who were on the boardwalk ignored him before responders arrived and brought him to Kings County Hospital.

Edwards subsequently underwent multiple surgeries on his eye — and now he’s left with a stack of medical bills and constant anxiety.

Edwards becomes emotional after discussing the homophobic incident he endured.
(Photo by Matt Tracy)

An NYPD spokesperson told Gay City News that 21-year-old Infenet Millington, a homeless individual, was arrested and charged with second-degree robbery — the only arrest made so far in the case. Edwards said he told authorities that the attackers voiced anti-LGBTQ remarks, but police did not say the case is being investigated as a hate crime. A law enforcement source said nothing in the case notes indicate anti-gay comments.

It was the third time Edwards said he faced homophobia in public. He was on a subway train at 34th Street in Manhattan three years ago when he mistakenly bumped into a straphanger, prompting that person to physically assault him in a fit of homophobic rage. Edwards also recalled facing homophobia in a building he previously lived in.

The latest attack was especially hurtful for Edwards because he had recently returned to live in his hometown area of Coney Island after leaving the area for several years.

“I came back out to Coney Island to my home, to my family,” he said. “For this to happen to me is not right.”

Edwards’ deep ties to the area were evident through the strong support he received from different community groups at the press conference, including two anti-violence organizations — Operation HOOD and the Coney Island Anti-Violence Collaborative — as well as additional members of the local community. Others on hand included Jeffrey Severe from Public Advocate Jumaane Williams’ office and MK Okma of Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders (SAGE).

“[Edwards] is not hurting anyone,” said Ann Valdez, a community organizer who lives in Coney Island. “He’s not bothering anyone. He went out there to feed the homeless. He’s not being paid for that. He’s doing that out of the kindness of his heart… My question for Coney Island is, ‘where is your heart?’”

Local Coney Island resident Ann Valdez is calling on her community to denounce bigotry.
(Photo by Matt Tracy)

Frontus, a Democrat, convened the press conference because she wanted to shed light on Edwards’ experience and emphasize recent statistics released by the NYPD showing a three-fold increase this year in hate crimes targeting individuals on the basis of sexual orientation. There is also a slight increase in hate crimes targeting people on the basis of gender identity.

“I stand here today ashamed that more than 50 years after the Stonewall riots, members of the LGBT community are still at risk and have to watch their backs as they are walking down the street,” Frontus said. “We will not tolerate hate or discrimination or violence of any kind right here in our backyard.”

Edwards told Gay City News he yearns for a future in which members of the community are able to come together without turning to bigotry.

“I hope to see that the world will get better — that we will be able to live together as unified people,” he said. “Gay, Chinese, or Jewish — that we will all be able to live together as unified people.”

Assemblymember Mathydle Frontus leads the rally outside of her office. (Photo by Matt Tracy)
An inclusive message calls for an end to violence in the community
(Photo by Matt Tracy)
Jeffrey Severe represents Public Advocate Jumaane Williams’ office. (Photo by Matt Tracy)
Derick Latif Scott of Operation HOOD stresses the importance of tolerance and compassion. (Photo by Matt Tracy)
SAGE’s MJ Okma shows support for Edwards. (Photo by Matt Tracy)

********************

Matt Tracy is Gay City News’ editor-in-chief.

********************

The preceding piece was originally published by Gay City News and is republished with permission.

Continue Reading

New York

New York man arrested for threatening mass shootings of LGBTQ+ people

Defendant allegedly threatened bombings and mass shooting that would make the 2016 Orlando Pulse Nightclub Attack “Look Like a Cakewalk”

Published

on

World Pride, New York City June 29, 2019 (Photo by Andrew Nasonov)

CENTRAL ISLIP, Ny. – Agents from the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested and charged on Monday a Long Island man on a warrant issued by United States Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke for mailing letters threatening to assault, shoot, and bomb LGBTQ+ affiliated individuals, organizations, and businesses. 

According to Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, and Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, of the FBI New York Field Office, who announced the arrest, Robert Fehring, 74, a resident of Bayport, New York on Long Island, since at least 2013, had been sending individuals associated with the LGBTQ+ community letters in which he threatened violence, including threatening the use of firearms and explosives. 

In the criminal complaint and affidavit for arrest, federal prosecutors allege that one letter threatened that there would “be radio-cont[r]olled devices placed at numerous strategic places” at the 2021 New York City Pride March with “firepower” that would “make the 2016 Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting look like a cakewalk,” referencing the 2016 attack in which 49 persons were killed and dozens wounded at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

“As alleged, the defendant’s hate-filled invective and threats of violence directed at members of the LGBTQ+ community have no place in our society and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” stated Peace.  “This Office is firmly committed to protecting the civil rights of all members of every community in this district, including the LGBTQ+ community and other minority communities.”

Fehring is also alleged to have a sent a letter threatening the organizer of a June 2021 Pride event in East Meadow, New York, which stated:

“[W]e were right there you…FREAK!!!  They couldn’t get a shot off at you, slithering around the back stage area like a snake.  Too many cops.  Very disappointed.  But your time has come. . .. They are out to KILL you….and your boyfriend.  You are being watched.  No matter how long it takes, you will be taken out…. high-powered bullet…. bomb….knife…. whatever it takes.”

On November 18, 2021, members of the FBI’s Civil Rights Squad and the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force executed a search warrant at Fehring’s home in Bayport, New York, and recovered photographs from a June 2021 Pride event in East Meadow, New York, two loaded shotguns, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, two stun guns, and a stamped envelope addressed to an LGBTQ+ affiliated attorney containing the remains of a dead bird. 

“Fehring’s alleged threats to members of the LGBTQ+ community were not only appalling, but dangerous, despite the fact he hadn’t yet acted on his purported intentions,” stated Driscoll.  “As the primary federal agency responsible for investigating civil rights violations, the FBI takes all threats of this nature seriously.” 

The New York Executive Director of NYC PRIDE Sandra Pérez told the Blade in an emailed statement; “We take any and all violent threats seriously and report them to the appropriate authorities. We received threatening letters earlier this year and reported them. We appreciate the work of the Justice Department in investigating this situation. We are cooperating in any way we can, and we remain committed to the safety and well-being of the LGBTQIA+ community.”

Gay City News editor  Matt Tracy reported that Fehring appeared in court on December 6 before Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke and was released on $100,000 bond. He is restricted to home detention with location monitoring, according to prosecutors. He is not allowed to have any firearms or “destructive devices,” is barred from contacting any of his alleged victims, and cannot go to the places he is said to have targeted.

Continue Reading

New York

Embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigns

The announcement comes a week after the release of a damning report that says he sexually harassed 11 women.

Published

on

Andrew Cuomo, gay news, Washington Blade
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael K. Lavers)

NEW YORK — Embattled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday resigned.

Cuomo announced his resignation a week after state Attorney General Leticia James released a damning report that concluded he sexually harassed 11 women.

The report implicates Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David — a previous Cuomo counselor — as part of a coordinated effort to discredit one of the women who accused the soon-to-be-former governor of sexual harassment. HRC on Monday announced it will conduct an independent review of David.

Roberta Kaplan, a lawyer who successfully argued against the Defense of Marriage Act before the U.S. Supreme Court, on Monday resigned from the Time’s Up board of directors after James’ report indicated she reviewed and read an op-ed that sought to discredit one of Cuomo’s accusers.

The op-ed was not published.

Lieutenant Gov. Kathy Hochul will succeed Cuomo once his resignation takes effect in two weeks.

Chris Johnson contributed to this report.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts

Popular