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Queens Chronicle

Jamaica man charged in assault on journalist

Accounts of Manhattan fight vary

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Posted: Thursday, February 6, 2014 10:30 am

A Jamaica resident was charged last week in connection with a Jan. 17 altercation that left a prominent Manhattan journalist hospitalized with head injuries.

Leighton Jennings, 25, of 166th Street was charged with second-degree assault on Jan. 28 for allegedly throwing a punch that caused Randy Gener, 46, to strike his head on the sidewalk on Seventh Avenue in midtown.

Gener was taken to St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital where he reportedly underwent brain surgery, and where he still remains.

Gener is a writer, editor and award-winning critic who is well-known in Manhattan’s theater circles. He is openly gay and very active on LGBT issues, as well as the city’s Filipino community.

Police in their initial reports said little more than that the man who struck Gener fled the scene, along with his description and that of his vehicle.

Given Gener’s prominence in the LGBT community, police at first were investigating the possibility that it might have been a bias crime. The Wall Street Journal reported that his cell phone, wallet and gold jewelry had not been taken.

Police subsequently ruled out bias as a motive, with the Daily News quoting NYPD Commissioner William Bratton as saying the incident appears to have been “a tragic street altercation.”

The paper said Jennings was arraigned in Manhattan and is free on his own recognizance.

Published accounts are saying that the NYPD now is investigating the possibility that Gener and Jennings struck each other after a chance bumping incident involving the journalist and Jennings’ girlfriend.

One account has Jennings exiting his car as the bumping evolved into a heated exchange, and another has Jennings being part of a group that was involved in the jostling.

Some published accounts say police are looking into whether Jennings threw his punch after Gener reportedly kicked his girlfriend in the chest.

Gener’s friends are raising money for his medical expenses at YouCaring.com.

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