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Interracial couple attacked outside Shi Restaurant, possible hate crime

shiAug. 19, 2013 Staff Report

A 28-year-old Long Island City man, Nikolaos Katsos, was charged with third-degree assault and harassment while police search for more suspects in the alleged assault of an interracial couple early Saturday morning.

The couple said they were leaving Shi restaurant, located at 47-20 Center Boulevard, with a gay friend after 1:30 a.m. when they were attacked by three men who screamed racial and homophobic slurs.

Billie and Jacob James-Vogel said that they and a gay friend had been celebrating Billie James-Vogel’s 40th birthday.

They say three men from a nearby car began hurling homophobic and racist slurs at their group before physically assaulting them.

Jacob James-Vogel suffered a black eye and a head injury; his wife had a broken toe and other bruises.

Billie James-Vogel said she fears her attackers might return.

“In this day and age, in this neighborhood, it just kills me,” she said of the racial slurs.

Police are continuing to investigate this incident as a hate crime and are looking for others involved.

The charges against Katsos could be upgraded.

For NY1’s coverage on the story, please click here

Anyone with information on the case should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS

email the author: [email protected]

33 Comments

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Speak the truth

Here are some facts that is left behind that i heard :

The couple were stopped from being served acohol because they were intoxicated and started to become rowdy and they were escorted outside by the bouncer .

there was a couple at the fourth floor at a very close by building who witness the whole thing from beginning that they were not “attacked ” but they got into arguements that led into a fight .Had they go home straight they will never got into this situation .How they lost the fight and got beated up that is unknown to me and very unfortunate .

With that being said i do have sympathy for what had happend to them and sympathy for SHI being an easy target to be blamed .

My analogy is : you throw a party at your house and then your friends become drunk and make scene and you ask them to leave and then they got into fight in front of your home with stranger coz they are drunk .will you let them back inside while you have all other important guest and your kids inside ? I doubt that .

Perhaps i would just call the cops and thats exactly Shi did ,at least according to the statement at their website ,and told them that help is on the way .how do we know if the couple lied or not since they were upset being escorted out of the rest ??
How do we know who call the cops first ?
How do we know if Shi really call the cops or not ?

ONLY the Cops can proove it with 911 calls print out record .

Will all being said i will only wait for the truth to speak for itself !
Only ignorant ppl will judge without sufficient proofs .i do not wanna be called one .

Reply
A

The facts aren’t out yet. Don’t judge too fast. How were they able to leave the fight, ask for help, then return to the fight? Sounds ridiculous. They were kicked out of SHI for being disruptive then got into a melee outside after antagonizing the kids about their car. The car was parked in front of SHI. Why would they park their car in front and jump out to best them ? Liars and bullies.

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Carolyn

It seems like Shi did not want get involved. with their vague statement “the police had been called and were assessing the situation”. They did not have to play superman, but at least allow them entry and not turn then away. My husband had been attacked a couple a years ago. people just walked by and did nothing. unfortunately, no one even called the police. the kids were repeatedly trying to stab him in the heart, while my husband grabbed at the knife cutting all of his fingers and missing his heart. thanks to no one my husband is alive. these things are frightening as it is . then t see human kind at is best is a pain you will relive forever.

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LIC Resident2

Though it does sound disappointing about Shi, since we don’t know all of the facts I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt at least for the moment. BUT- one thing we can say for sure is the police in the area ignore known hotspots. Center Blvd late at night on Saturday has been sketchy for a while now. If there was a stronger police presence at times when everyone knows are important times, then maybe those guys would have thought twice about going there to cause trouble. Vernon Mall is right outside of the precinct and its a joke.

Reply
D

Well put Ro. Most of the posts here slamming SHI paint the establishment as “all about the dollar”. While that may very well be true (and should surprise no one since most businesses are), it would make little business sense to turn away a victim of hate crime seeking help, as clearly evidenced by the fall-out from this incident. A decision was likely made in the heat of the moment, without complete info, and in hindsight, the decision was wrong.

If this was a brawl between a bunch of drunk assholes (and yeah, women and gays can be drunk assholes too), it is the doorman’s job to keep them out, and he would have done the right thing. As it turned out, this was likely a hate crime, and the doorman should have let the victims in, but it is very plausible that the doorman may have thought it was a brawl and not a hate crime that he was witnessing.

Reply
Ro

As they say, “hindsight is 20/20”. I totally understand why people are outraged if in fact SHI did not allow their attacked patrons back in, assuming they knew exactly what was happening right outside their establishment. However, now SHI is stating that they did not do such a thing and only learned about the incident after it had happened. In any event, in the heat of the moment people make split second decisions and it might turn out to be the wrong decision. Assuming the doorman did in fact not allow the patrons back in – did he know exactly what was happening outside of the restaurant and why the patrons were being attacked? Was the doorman sure that the incident did not involve any fire arms or any other weapons that if he let someone in would put the rest of the people in the establishment in danger? Unfortunately, we live in a time and age that we must assume the worst of any situation.

I hope, for SHI’s sake, that they either are telling the true and did not deny their patrons protection or they made a split second decision with the limited information they had at the moment in order to protect the patrons inside their establishment. Whatever the situation turns out to be our outrage should first and foremost be with the three bigots that committed this despicable act and then determine if SHI did or did not do the right thing. At the moment I think we do not have enough facts to condemn SHI.

Reply
John

I have been going to SHI for quite some time. In fact, have hosted many occasions at this establishment up until about a year ago. With that said… based on this incident (the doorman’s reaction toward a clearly battered couple, and Shih’s (Owner) response, justifying the doorman’s reaction and eradicating accountability) I WILL NEVER, EVER set foot in SHI again.

As an owner on Center Blvd., I will also make every attempt to ensure their lease does not renew.

This whole thing is sickening!!!

ps: Also, as of recent, SHI has been getting a rough crowd on Saturdays. Clearly they don’t object, as long as the dollar$ keep pouring in and Shih can make the payments on his Porsche 911.

Reply
Keeping it real

Hold on people it looks like Shi released a statement. Read it before you comment:

On Saturday 8/17 an unfortunate incident occured around the corner of SHI Restaurant. The James-Vogel’s were attacked in an alleged “hate crime”. It is being reported that we at SHI denied them help. We vehemently deny these allegations because it is simply untrue.We were not aware of the incident until it was over. In any event we were informed the Police were called and on their way. Neither Billie or Jacob Vogel was turned away. As a business serving Long Island City and beyond, we have a very diverse clientele and are very invloved in the community. We strongly condemn discrimination in all forms and under no circumstances would we turn away anyone who needed help for whatever reason. Our sympathies go out to the james-Vogels and we sincerely hope they recover both physically and emotionally from this devastating incident.

http://www.shilic.com/

Reply
SameOldSong

In #America: 85% of ALL Xtian, Caucasoids (70% of ur population) never even meet another race or religion before/if they attend University! You are NOT diverse. Stop kidding urself. Go get smart.

Reply
AJ

Ummmm…..this sounds like it has nothing to do with the wonderful establishments of both SHi and Skinny’s…..this sounds like some douche bags beat up some people outside a bar. Blaming anything on an establishment is horsesh*t…..I have been to those places tons of time with nothing but great nights.

Reply
Alex

Horrible situation and SHI is the big loser here. “Couldn’t assess the situation”?? You have got to be kidding me – Man AND woman getting beat outside your restaurant and you don’t give them shelter?

I am in an interracial marriage as well and to know that this happens is painful but to know that this happens in front of others who stand idly by is revolting.

We live in Manhattan but frequent LIC often and we will make a point of letting our friends know about SHI’s archaic stance.

SHI, if someone put racist propaganda on your storefront the community would be up in arms to support you. Thanks for letting everyone know where you stand on this issue…

Reply
Anonymous

the people to persecute are the perpetrators of this crime.

don’t be hating shi because it’s not providing public police or medical services.

if anything it’s justified hatred in all our hearts that needs to be challenged.

if you really want to help your community then let’s get more cops out there, lets’ reduce the hatred, the lawsuits and the animosity.

Reply
Doug

Ok just a question. Say the doorman let them in and patrons were hurt, wouldn’t that put the restaurant in a liability situation?

Reply
Vlo DivaMoM

As a life long resident of L.I.C /Astoria I am disappointed,sadden and plain disgusted.
I grew up with Americans,
who had parents or grandparents from… North, Down South, Jamaica, Barbados,Greece,Argentina,Ireland,Germany,Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, etc
And what a wonderful childhood growing up seeing other cultures,and foods,sayings phrases.
While never losing sight of who i am.
there is no danger in learning and understanding others.

Today, I have reconnected with many childhood & school friends

And We get together all over Queens…Shi & skinny cow will not make the cut !!

Reply
Anonymous

The police from the 108th haven’t patrolled the neighborhood since the late 60s-early 70s. That’s just not done anymore. That precinct house may as well be located on Mars for all the good it does.

Reply
Carolyn

That is the problem with people these days – everyone turns a blind eye to things as long as it has nothing to do with them.

Reply
Carolyn

I cannot believe the owners of this restaurant turned away these people who obviously were looking for their help – whether or not they were in there earlier.

I will be sure never to stop in there

Reply
Anonymous

Eric–read the NY1 report. I saw the on-air version and they even got a hold of Shi’s owner who said he was concerned for the other patrons. But surely the doorman saw who was a victim and who was a perpetrator?

And note the NY1 report– one of the victims says the perp CAME BACK and pretended to be a cop. Sick, sick, sick.

Very sad to see this.

Reply
LIC Resident2

I agree with Jason above. SHI is basically a nightclub on Saturdays and it does attract a bad element sometimes. All the more reason the police at 108 should be a stronger presence in their own neighborhood. Vernon Mall is disgraceful, it is right next to 108 and has drunk guys hanging out there shouting at all hours of the day.

Reply
JO

I think by guido, they just meant douchebag. it has Italian roots in it’s namecalling, but guido definitely does not refer to the italian population as a whole, just the douchy ones… how I understand the term.

Here’s more from Urban Dictionary
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=guido

Can you call someone a schmuck that’s not Jewish? Even though it’s a Jewish term that was typically used to refer to Jews (by Jews). I think guido might just be a state of mind – a lame one that deserves a name to depricate by.

I def understand though, and wouldn’t personally use the term unless it was absolutely necessary.

Reply
QueensGirl

According to various news reports, the SHI doorman, who had just let the diners out, locked the door on the bloodied couple when they tried to come back in for assistance “out of fear for the other patrons”. That is disgusting. Will NEVER be dining there again.

Reply
Anon1

Yesterday, someone who claimed to be with the couple said on facebook that they were attacked by some “guidos”.

I would say that is a racial comment and offensive to the neighborhood.

Furthermore, the name of the person arrested would indicate he is of Greek decent, not guido.

Could it be someone left out a part of this story?

Reply
Anonymous

Shi is SH*T! This story shows they aren’t “part of the community.” In addition they somehow tracked down my landlord after I ordered delivery and I was accused if stealing the delivery boys bike! Really?! I have a car, no need for bike and why would I order delivery, pay for it and somehow try to orchestrate stealing a damn bike.

Reply
Eric

Um, where is it indicated that the restaurant workers “turn[ed] away help?” That’s not implied at all by the report. It sounds like they left the restaurant and were attacked on the street.

As for Mr. Katsos, here’s some advice for his friends: Mr. Tough Guy’s gonna roll over on you, so best to come forward before he cuts a deal and sells you out.

Reply
RRT

LIC is made up of transients from all walks of life,
with varying ideas & degrees of “tolerance.” In truth,
I am not surprised that I don’t witness more garbage
of this sort around the neighborhood.

Racism and hate-crimes suck no matter the context.
Yet, as LIC becomes more populated then sadly, we’ll
have to expect more of this.

Reply
Demetrius

This is a sad situation. I feel horrible for the victims and I hope they recover well, physically and emotionally. As for the perps, I hope they are found and get what they deserve.

Jason – do you care to elaborate? What did Shi do or not do in this situation? “This is a terrible situation and I’m appalled by SHI’s reaction to the whole situation. How do you turn away help to people who just patronized your establishment? As a neighbor I will not support their restaurants Shi or the Skinny Cantina. What a disgrace!!!”

Reply
AnLICDude

The cops at the station on 50th ave are the best at smoking cigarettes and crushing sandos. I once went in there to report a car with it’s window smashed, bc there are a lot of them- they basically looked at me like I did it, then said they were going to send someone to check it out, but the car sat there in that condition for the next week- good job guys.

Reply
Brendan

I read the NY1 version of this story.

http://www.ny1.com/content/top_stories/187337/victims-of-alleged-queens-beating-say-it-may-have-been-racially-motivated

I’m really quite concerned about SHI’s response. The article states: “The couple said that while it was all going on, they went back to Shi for help, but were turned away at the door” “out of fear for their other patrons.”
So once you pay the bill and walk out of a restaurant, tough darts, you’re on your own. Nice attitude.
I’m sorry, but if you see people in distress who were just at your restaurant due to an apparent attack, do more than call police.

I’m supposed to go to Jimmy van Bramer’s birthday party this evening and I’m actually reconsidering.
To me, this is truly adding insult to injury.

Reply
jason

This is a terrible situation and I’m appalled by SHI’s reaction to the whole situation. How do you turn away help to people who just patronized your establishment? As a neighbor I will not support their restaurants Shi or the Skinny Cantina. What a disgrace!!! And hello 108 wake up!!!!! It’s nice that you have you stationed here on 50th street, but please commit to the safety of this neighborhood you call home. I don’t understand why I can see police walking around on Vernon but they never do anything about the people who hang out in the Vernon mall drinking alcohol out of paper bags and even playing loud music. This is unacceptable. It would be nice to see more police patrolling the neighborhood!

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