Miguel Gonzalez, who has recently been a victim of bullying in Dunkirk, was presented with a new bicycle on Friday morning at the Resource Center where he works.
Spoke Folk, a local organization which provides bicycles, maintenance and training to those in need of bicycles in the area, presented Gonzalez with the bike after learning he was bullied by two men in the area. Gonzalez has Tourette's syndrome, according to his family, which causes him to hit himself when he is under stress.
"You are the reason we do this," Richard Goodman, director of Spoke Folk, told Gonzalez in front of others who were present. He said any future maintenance which might be needed will be covered by Spoke Folk.
OBSERVER Photo By Shirley Pulawski
Miguel Gonzalez, left, was presented with a new bicycle on Friday morning by members of Spoke Folk Tom Crane (center) and director Richard Goodman (right).
Gonzalez thanked everyone for the gift. When asked if he liked the color of the metallic burgundy and silver bike, he smiled and said, "Yes. Red, silver, it doesn't matter." He hopped on the bike and took it for a ride around the street and parking lot in front of the Resource Center on Chestnut Street in Dunkirk.
After reports of men taunting Gonzalez and following him around on several city streets while riding his old bicycle, Dunkirk police conducted an investigation. On Wednesday, it was announced two were charged in the incident. According to police, Ryan J. Hudson, 18, and Matthew Colon, 18, both of Dunkirk, were charged with stalking in the fourth degree, a Class B misdemeanor. They are scheduled for arraignment in City Court on Nov. 19.
The two men were accused of following Gonzalez while in a vehicle, yelling taunts and filming the incidents which were posted on YouTube.
Under state law, a person is guilty of stalking in the fourth degree when he or she intentionally, and for no legitimate purpose, engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person, and knows or reasonably should know that such conduct is likely to cause reasonable fear of material harm to the physical health, safety or property of such person.
The stalking charge is not the first time Hudson has had a run-in with the law. On Oct. 23, Hudson was also charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief by the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office after an incident at Lake Shore Hospital. It is alleged he became agitated as a patient and damaged hospital property and will appear in the Town of Hanover Court at a later date.
Local resident Ryan Calalesina set up a webpage to raise awareness, and where people can donate to help Gonzalez at www.gofundme.com/mikeydeservesbetter "It is important for the community to know this story so the abuse to less fortunate people can stop," Calalesina said.
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