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In a shocking turn of events, a New York City banker who was allegedly seen punching a woman at a Pride event has surrendered to the police. The incident, which took place during the annual Pride celebrations in Manhattan, has drawn widespread condemnation and calls for justice from the community.

The accused, identified as 34-year-old Thomas Whitaker, turned himself in at the 6th Precinct on Tuesday morning. The incident reportedly occurred on Sunday afternoon in the West Village, a neighborhood known for its vibrant LGBTQ+ community and as the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement.

According to eyewitnesses, the altercation began when Whitaker, who appeared to be intoxicated, became involved in a verbal dispute with a group of attendees at the Pride event. The situation quickly escalated, and Whitaker allegedly struck 29-year-old Emily Rodriguez in the face, causing her to fall to the ground.

Bystanders immediately intervened, and security personnel detained Whitaker until the police arrived. Rodriguez was taken to a nearby hospital where she was treated for facial injuries and later released. “It was a terrifying experience,” Rodriguez said. “One moment we were celebrating love and equality, and the next I was being attacked for no reason.”

The incident was captured on multiple cell phone cameras, and the footage quickly went viral on social media, sparking outrage and demands for Whitaker’s arrest. LGBTQ+ advocacy groups and community leaders have condemned the attack, calling it a hate crime and urging authorities to take swift action.

“This act of violence is completely unacceptable and goes against the very spirit of Pride,” said Juan Hernandez, a spokesperson for the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD). “We stand with Emily and all victims of hate and violence. We demand justice and accountability.”

Whitaker, who works as an investment banker for a prominent financial firm in Manhattan, has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. His lawyer, Michael Cohen, released a statement asserting that his client is innocent and that the full context of the incident has yet to be revealed.

“Mr. Whitaker deeply regrets the events that transpired and maintains that he did not intend to cause harm,” Cohen said. “We are confident that once all the facts come to light, he will be exonerated.”

The NYPD has charged Whitaker with assault and disorderly conduct. He was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court and released on bail. The case has been adjourned until next month, and Whitaker has been ordered to stay away from Rodriguez and avoid any further contact with her.

As the legal proceedings unfold, the incident has reignited conversations about safety and inclusivity at public events, particularly those celebrating marginalized communities. Advocates continue to call for increased security measures and support systems to ensure that Pride events remain safe spaces for all attendees.

Rodriguez, meanwhile, is receiving support from friends, family, and the broader LGBTQ+ community. “I won’t let this incident take away my pride or my voice,” she said. “We will continue to fight for our rights and our safety, no matter what.”

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