Kurland Assaulted on New Year's Morning

Yetta Kurland, the out lesbian civil rights attorney who unsuccessfully challenged City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in last September’s District 3 Democratic primary, was the victim of an apparently random assault by a young man during the early mornings hours of New Year’s Day.

Her assailant, one of a group of several youths, punched her in the back of the head several times as she was standing on the south side of 14th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues.

The 3:50 a.m. assault was painful but the injuries were not serious, and Kurland refused medical attention.

“I was waiting with a friend for someone to come out of a building when we saw about six guys coming up the street,” she told this reporter. “One of them ran up and pummeled me in the head. He seemed hopped up — strung out – and it looked like he didn’t even see me. It seemed like he would have attacked anyone who was standing in that spot at the time.”

The suspect, who was no older than 20 and might have been younger, could have been swinging wildly as he was walking up the street, Kurland added.

“It made me ask myself what we are doing about youth violence and what we are doing to get drugs off the street to make sure that young people can celebrate New Year’s or any other occasion peacefully and responsibly,” she said.

Kurland said she and her friend followed the suspect and his group to the subway station at Seventh Avenue and 14th Street, where she told them she was calling police. One member of the group of Latino youths tried to persuade her not to call police, but a transit worker dialed 911 and the group dispersed.