A 33-year-old Staten Island man who physically assaulted two people in a homophobic fit of rage in Brooklyn last year has been sentenced to up to four years behind bars.
Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice John Hecht on March 29 sentenced Aaron Richards to a minimum of two years and a maximum of four years in prison after the defendant pleaded guilty to a charge of third-degree assault as a hate crime.
It was shortly before 6 p.m. on July 8 of last year when Richards walked up to a 22-year-old man who was standing with another person in front of a deli near 533 Ocean Avenue in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, according to Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. Richards, who knew the 22-year-old, then said, “Yo, you f—–s got to go. Let’s get these f—–s out of here. You need to move off this corner.”
Richards proceeded to hit the 22-year-old man in the face with a metal object, leaving him with a laceration, according to the Brooklyn DA. The other person then tried to step in to stop the attack, but was also struck with the metal object. Both victims suffered injuries in the attack.
Richards was arrested on August 30 of last year.
“Attacks victimizing the LGBTQ+ community have surged nationwide, and we have no tolerance for this abhorrent violence in Brooklyn,” Gonzalez said in a written statement. “[The] sentence holds the defendant accountable for this senseless and unprovoked attack and sends a strong message that those who commit hate crimes will face serious consequences.”