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Black Group Attacked By Whites On Queens Beach

July 12, 1988

NEW YORK (AP) _ A white construction worker was arrested on assault and other charges after he allegedly attacked a black corrections officer taking pictures with his girlfriend on a beach, authorities said.

The corrections officer, 27-year-old Neville Bonitto, was clubbed with a steel pipe by the man as a group of whites jeered, ″You don’t belong here,″ police said.

Bonitto suffered cuts and bruises to his right knee, right shoulder and elbow, said Detective William Stray of the U.S. Park Police on Monday.

Paul Guglielmo, 21, was charged with felony assault, aggravated harassment and criminal possession of a deadly weapon. Officials said more arrests were expected.

The incident took place Sunday evening at a beach in the Gateway National Recreation Area where Bonitto, his girlfriend - model Jewel Gittens, 25 - and another couple, all of them black, were taking pictures in a gazebo. The pictures were to be used for Ms. Gittens’ professional portfolio.

The group had a permit to be on the beach, which is only open to permit holders, said Stray.

While the group took pictures, Guglielmo and a 17-year-old companion began screaming racial slurs and threatened to release a Doberman pinscher to attack them, Stray said.

″They were yelling ‘You don’t belong here, you don’t belong in the park here,’ but they (the blacks) ignored them,″ said Capt. Michael Collins of the city police Bias Unit.

The two white men entered the gazebo, brushed against the blacks and urinated on a wall about 10 feet away, Stray said. Bonitto identified himself as a corrections officer and asked them to leave.

The two men refused and spilled beer on Ms. Gittens. Guglielmo began scuffling with Bonitto and allegedly clubbed him with the steel pipe, Stray said.

During the scuffle, eight other white men and women came over to aid the two whites. Bonitto pulled out his shield and service revolver and again identified himself as a law enforcement officer, but the whites continued to jeer.

The corrections officer ran to a nearby firehouse, where he called police. The crowd was still yelling racial slurs when Bonitto returned with officers and identified Guglielmo as his attacker, police said.

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