JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A doctor and Jacksonville native is recovering from serious injuries after he was beaten in New York City over the holiday weekend in an attack he believes was motivated by hate.
The attack happened about 3 a.m. Saturday as Dr. Sina Rezaie was walking home from a subway stop in Greenwich Village, according to an interview Rezaie gave to New York City’s WNBC-TV.
Rezaie told the news station his assailant called him a homophobic slur and then attacked him while his back was turned.
“He called me an [expletive] and then half a block later he came from behind and kicked and punched me multiple times,” said Rezaie, whose broken jaw is being held together by metal plates and screws.
Rezaie told the news station he managed to pick himself up and make his way to a nearby bar, where two of his friends noticed something was wrong and helped get him to a city hospital for treatment.
“I saw him holding his mouth and blood running from his face. He said that he had gotten attacked by some guy who said something to him as he got off the train,” one of those friends, Richard Daley, recalled.
Despite the presence of several surveillance cameras in the neighborhood, Rezaie’s attacker hadn’t been arrested as of Monday afternoon, according to WNBC’s report.
The 29-year-old doctor’s friends have stepped up to help with his recovery in the wake of the attack. One of them launched a crowdfunding campaign to defray the cost of his medical bills. By Monday afternoon, the GoFundMe had raised more than $9,000.
“I’m so sorry. I wish you a quick recovery. Hang on there friend, we are here with you,” one donor said.
“So sorry this happened to you. Wishing you a speedy recovery,” another donor added.
According to the GoFundMe, Rezaie’s jaw will remain fused shut for the next few weeks so that his injuries can properly heal. The campaign’s organizer, Sammy Daylor, told News4Jax that Rezaie’s jaw is so swollen from surgery that he is unable to speak.
Neither Rezaie nor his family were interested in discussing the incident on Monday.
“He’s also in a lot of pain and even replying to my texts has been very difficult for him,” Daylor said. “His family really needs time to process everything that has happened to Sina, as well.”
Rezaie did, however, issue a statement on his public Instagram page Monday, expressing his gratitude for the support he received from friends, family and the community following Saturday’s ordeal.
Just want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart who have donated, shared my story, and/or reached out. Helping me get through this. I’m at a loss for words and so touched. I’m home now, still very swollen, so difficult to speak, and in pain but first follow-up appt is tomorrow. Thank you and love you all.Dr. Sina Rezaie