A gay couple were brutally beaten outside a public restroom by four men in Miami just hours after the annual Miami Beach Gay Pride celebration.
CCTV footage released by the Miami Beach Police Department shows the two victims, Rene Chalarca and Dmitry Logunov, being punched repeatedly by the aggressors, who were also heard hurling anti-gay slurs as they beat the men to the ground.
One bystander attempted to intervene and physically defend the two victims, but he was also reportedly beaten to the ground by the gang.
Speaking to South Florida news outlet Sun-Sentinel, Mr Chalarca recalls:
We were outside of the bathroom, and then he hit him. I grabbed the guy, but he was already on the floor, and then the other people came and started hitting him.
The attack took place on Sunday and the four attackers have since surrendered to police and, according to a tweet by the Miami Beach Police Department, will likely be prosecuted for their involvement in the alleged hate crime.
The four men are Juan C Lopez, 21, Luis M Alonso, 20, Adonis Diaz, 21, and Pablo Reinaldo Romo, 21.
Despite the department’s apparent cooperation, South Florida Gay News reports an insensitive police reaction, with one officer allegedly telling victim Logunov to “stop the drama” and “shut the fuck up".
Another seemingly downplayed the gravity of the attack, allegedly stating: “Put ice on your face at home and you’ll be alright.” They later went to hospital of their own accord and discovered Mr Chalarca may require surgery.
A spokesperson for the Miami Beach Police Department has since said:
The Miami Beach Police Department prides itself on its inclusion of everyone.
If anyone feels mistreated by any of our officers, they are encouraged to contact MBPD's Internal Affairs unit so that any complaint can be addressed immediately.
As reported by South Florida Gay News, Miami Beach city commissioner Michael Gongora also said:
I am disturbed by this and have sent to the police chief for investigation.
Being Miami Beach's first and only openly gay commissioner it's important to me that our community be safe and treated well – especially during Gay Pride.
Incidentally, last year saw hate crime rates rise to a four-year high in Florida – this is without considering the 49 victims shot dead in gay nightclub Pulse in 2016. The attack is the second deadliest mass shooting in the United States behind only the Las Vegas shooting in 2017.