Out on Bail: Suspects in Beating of Same-Sex Couple Holding Hands Released – Hate Crime Charges?

 
 
 
The four men suspected of beating a same-sex couple at a gay pride event in Miami turned themselves in to police on Tuesday and were released Wednesday morning on bail (video below). The Miami police department had said via Twitter it expected felony charges but did not mention hate crimes charges.

Two of the victims (the third was a bystander who jumped in to defend the couple) say the four suspects shouted anti-gay slurs at them in Spanish.

No hate crime charges have been decided yet.

The suspects are Juan Carlos Lopez, 21; Luis M. Alonso Piovet, 20; Adonis Diaz, 21; and Pablo Reinaldo Romo-Figueroa. The Miami Herald reports they "are charged with aggravated battery, but the charges could be enhanced under state law if they are classified as hate crimes."

The State Attorney for Miami-Dade County, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, said via Twitter the "Hate Crimes Unit will evaluate this incident thoroughly."

"That makes me happy that, at least, they were nice enough to admit that they committed the crimes," one of the victims, Dimitri Lugonov, told ABC 10 News. "It's not over yet, but the main part is done."

His partner, Rene Chalarca, added: "We were together. So for me, it's like, yes, it was a hate crime."

Citing an arrest affidavit, ABC 10 adds that "one of the suspects bumped into one of the victims before words were exchanged."

"Police said the suspects started shouting gay slurs in Spanish and then began throwing punches, beating the men so badly that one told police he was unconscious after several hits to his head."

Watch via NBC 6:

 

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