Police in New York have launched a hate crime investigation after a Long Island woman was assaulted in the street with her girlfriend, Newsweek reports.
Suffolk County Police are offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who can provide information leading to an arrest in connection with the incident, which occurred July 7 in Patchogue.
Kimberly Page, 30, said she and her girlfriend were in an alleyway near the Patchogue-Medford Library when they were approached by a group of four men. One of the men allegedly made lewd comments to her girlfriend, questioning why a woman would want to be with another woman.
"I’m trying to make it known I'm not trying to fight or have an altercation," she recalled.
"My girlfriend [was] in high heels, a little bit more feminine than I am," Page explained, "and [the suspect said] 'I'm not going to fight you because you're a woman, I'm going to fight her,' meaning me, 'because she's a man.'" According to ABC 7, the assailant also called Page a "dude."
Page said that the man then hit her girlfriend anyway, knocking her the ground, before punching Page until she briefly lost consciousness.
"I know now that he was bashing my head on the concrete ground multiple times," she said. "While that is going on, another one of the men was holding and pushing my girlfriend to the ground, in order for her not to help me."
Both Page and her girlfriend were taken to Long Island Community Hospital in Patchogue. Page suffered injuries to her head, face, and knee during the assault.
"We love Kimberly, we love everything about Kimberly," said her mother, Marie Page, at a press conference. "We would not change anything about her. But every time she leaves the house, I am afraid."
“We are hoping people... will report them, step up and say something so these folks can be brought to justice, so nobody has to go through what Kimberly went through,” said David Kilmnick, president and CEO of the New York LGBT Network.
Suffolk County Crime Stoppers and Suffolk County Police Hate Crimes Unit detectives describe the main suspect in the attack as black and wearing a red bandana, red shirt, and red pants.
Anyone with information about the assailants is asked to call 800-220-TIPS or email tipsubmit.com.