A New York man charged in a 2013 gang attack on a gay couple outside Madison Square Garden yesterday pleaded guilty to a hate crime. His plea arrangement will result in a sentence of only two years of probation.
Martin Martinez was arrested in October 2013, four months after he and a group of Knicks fans came across Nick Porto and Kevin Atkins walking arm-in-arm on Eighth Avenue, according to police. The group of fans hurled homophobic slurs at the then-couple and beat them, breaking Porto’s nose and Atkins’ wrist, authorities said. Porto, 29, said he approved of the guilty plea. “I actually his respect his honesty,” he told DNAinfo. “I think that speak volumes on whether or not he’s actually learned something.” Martinez, who was 25 at the time of the attack, pleaded guilty to aggravated harassment in the second degree, a hate crime with a promised sentence of two years probation, the Manhattan district attorney’s office said. The misdemeanor involves physical contact based on “belief or perception regarding such person’s race, color…or sexual orientation,” according to the penal code. Martinez’s sentencing is set for March 30.
Porto says he plans to file a civil suit against all eight of his attackers, all of whom were caught on surveillance video.