STAPLETON, N.Y. (WPIX)—The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating a gay couple's claim that they were attacked at a Staten Island White Castle.
Luis Viera, 47, and Richard Vieira, 39, told police they were at the Stapleton fast-food restaurant located at 450 Bay St. about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday when the incident occurred.
Luis Viera said before he went inside, he spotted a group of about 40 black youths, both male and female, walking in the middle of Bay Street.
When the couple sat down to eat, Luis Viera claims three people from the group came in and approached the table and began spewing anti-gay remarks. A few moments later, Viera said one of the youths hit him on the back of the head.
At that point, Luis Viera claims both he and his partner ran out of the restaurant into the parking lot, where the group were apparently waiting for them. Luis Viera made it back inside the restaurant safely where he alerted employees to call 911 for help.
However, Richard Viera -- who was left stranded outside -- was apparently severely beaten. Luis Viera said he found his partner semi-concious and bleeding. Richard Viera was rushed to Richmond University Medical Center where he was treated and released.
Luis Viera said he and his partner were most likely targeted because he was wearing a band on his arm declaring his sexual orientation and his partner was carrying a "man purse."
In addition, he said the group didn't bother to approach any of the other customers at the White Castle.
An NYPD spokesman confirms the incident is being investigated as a hate crime.