Billie and Jacob James-Vogel were leaving Shi restaurant in Long Island City with a gay friend after celebrating Billie’s 40th birthday. As they walked down the street, Jacob, who is white, kissed his wife, Billie, who is black, and that’s when the trouble began, according to the account given to NBC.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the argument began when one of the men kissed Billie James-Vogel, and words were exchanged between the husband and that man.
Jacob James-Vogel suffered a black eye and a head injury; his wife had a broken toe and other bruises.
Kelly said one person had been arrested, and police were still investigating.
“We’re still looking at it as a possible hate crime,” Kelly said.
The couple told NY1 that the managers at Shi refused to let the couple back inside to call 911 or seek safety from their attackers. Then one of the attackers came back to the scene pretending to be a cop in an attempt to ride along in the ambulance.
The couple said that while it was all going on, they went back to Shi for help, but were turned away at the door.
Shih Lee, the co-owner of the restaurant, said police were called, and said they couldn’t let anyone back in out of fear for their other patrons.