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DA Thompson meets with gay community, establishes hotline following Orlando terror

June 15, 2016 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson spoke to reporters about his office’s Hate Crimes Unit and a new hotline in the wake of Sunday’s horrific Orlando terror attack. The press conference followed Tuesday’s meeting with members of the LGBTQ community. Eagle photo by Mary Frost
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Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson issued a “Call to Action” on Tuesday at a private meeting with members of the LGBTQ community, including representatives from Brooklyn Pride.

The meeting comes on the wake of Sunday’s Orlando gay nightclub mass shooting, where Omar Mateen, 29, killed 49 and injured 53, many grievously. Before he was killed, Mateen said he was inspired by ISIS and other radical Islamic groups. He was also said to be a frequent visitor to the gay club.

A Brooklyn resident, Enrique L. Rios Jr., and a Brooklyn native, Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, were killed in the horrific attack.

Adding urgency to the DA’s message was an incident in Brooklyn Monday night, when a man in a bar in Bushwick, called Happyfun Hideaway, shouted anti-gay slurs and threatened to “come back Orlando style.”

Justin Rice, 40, was arrested by police.

“There is a hotline for people to call,” Thompson told reporters following the meeting. “It is 718-250-4949, and we have people manning the phones who will pass the information on to prosecutors in my office.”

Thompson said that if people witnessed an incident like what happened at Happyfun Hideaway, they should call the hotline.

“A patron said he was going to do an Orlando-type shooting, in essence, and he was going to ‘get 50.’ He started making all types of anti-gay slurs, and he was arrested,” Thompson said.

“We need to deal with these types of incidents before they get out of control,” he added.

Thompson wants people to know that that there’s a strong Hate Crimes Unit in Brooklyn — the only Hate Crimes unit in a DA’s office in the city.

Thompson’s office has been able to stop 500 guns from coming into Brooklyn over the last two years, “and a number of those guns were assault weapons,” he said.

“We need to make sure that people who are filled with hate don’t get ahold of those guns and shoot many people like what occurred down in Orlando,” Thompson said, adding, “We should have a model in Brooklyn where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.”


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