Akino George, Gregory Archie, Jarell Sears and Gerard Johnson admitted to chasing, jumping, beating and yelling anti-gay slurs at the singer as he left the Phoenix bar in Manhattan's East Village. Police say at around 1:30 AM on June 10, 2006, the assailants punched and kicked Aviance in the face and body, breaking his jaw and causing other injuries. They also threw two garbage bags and a paint can at the Billboard-charting performer. Mayor Michael Bloomberg denounced the attack as "a disgrace."
The four defendants are aged 17 to 21 years old. They pleaded guilty to first- and second-degree assault as a hate crime; prosecutors say they will receive prison terms from six to fifteen years. The defendants faced up to 25 years in prison if they had been convicted of the most serious charge, first-degree assault as a hate crime. Last night, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) re-introduced legislation to add gays and lesbians to federal hate crime laws.
Only weeks after the assault, the gender-bending Kevin Aviance made a triumphant public reappearance in the New York City Gay Pride Parade—rolling down Fifth Avenue atop a fake elephant and a circus-themed float. His motto: "You can't keep a good queen down."
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