Arrest of ‘Black’ Man in Beating of Gay Journalist

Police describe the suspect, who is in custody, as “black,” although they had been looking for a “Hispanic” man.

Randy Gener
Randy Gener 

Police Sought “Hispanic” but Arrested a “Black Male”

Police arrested a Queens, N.Y., man Tuesday in the beating of Randy Gener, an openly gay arts journalist who remained in critical condition after undergoing brain surgery as a result of the attack, New York news media reported.

The suspect, Leighton Jennings, was described by police Wednesday as “24-year-old black male,” although the police were looking for a man they described as Hispanic, illustrating the errors that can occur with police descriptions of crime suspects. Those descriptions are often publicized by the news media.

Friends had raised more that $55,000 by Wednesday night to pay Gener’s medical bills. A fundraising site, started on Tuesday, hopes to bring in $70,000.

WNBC-TV reported, “The 46-year-old suffered head trauma and has been in and out of consciousness since the attack, family members say. Doctors had . . . to remove a portion of his skull to allow his brain to swell, and it could take more than six months for him to recover. . . .”

Bob Fredericks and Natasha Velez of the New York Post also reported on the midtown Manhattan incident, which occurred on Jan. 18 after Gener was leaving a party before 4 a.m. “Police said the victim bumped into the suspect’s girlfriend and the pair argued before Jennings belted Gener,” they wrote.

“The victim, 46, fell to the ground and smacked his head on the pavement after the assault.

“Jennings sped away in a gray, four-door Nissan with Mississippi license plates, police said.”

They also wrote, “Police initially investigated the assault as a possible hate crime but determined Gener’s sexuality had nothing to do with it. . . .”

The Asian American Journalists Association and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association called attention to Gener’s plight this week. He is a member of both organizations, is the U.S. editor of Critical Stages, described as an international journal on global politics and performance, and has written for the New York Times, the Daily News in New York, NPR and other news organizations in the United States, Europe and Asia.