Police have not said if an attack at Miami Beach’s Pride festivities was a hate crime, but victims of the incident insist on it.
Rene Chalarca and Dimitri Logunov shared a hug outside a restroom at the Miami Beach 10th Anniversary Pride Celebration Sunday, they told Local 10 News. And then they were attacked by a group of unknown men.
In surveillance footage, released by Miami Beach Police, four young men are seen walking toward the restroom near 6th Street and Ocean Drive. According to police, three of the four men “randomly” attacked Logunov and Chalarca outside a restroom at approximately 7:40 pm.
One man yelled “maricones,” Spanish for “faggot,” before hitting Chalarca several times. The couple tried to run away but were chased.
A bystander, Helmut Muller, tried to stop the attackers, but one of the men knocked him to the ground, the report says.
Muller told the Miami Herald that the fight was entirely unprovoked.
“It happened so quick,” he said. “They almost killed this guy, literally.”
Muller suffered a cut to the back of his head.
In the video, a group of men is seen hitting and throwing objects outside a restroom. A man falls to the ground while the attack continues.
“There was a pool of blood where [Muller] fell,” according to the police report.
The suspects fled toward the beach, according to police.
The couple suffered bruises and lacerations while Muller was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital.
Chalarca told NBC 6 News he thinks the incident was a hate crime.
— Jamie Guirola (@jamieNBC6) April 10, 2018
"For me, the way we were dressed and everything and we were together, for me it was like, yes, it was a hate crime,” he said.
So far, police have classified the incident as a felony battery, but have not said if they will investigate the matter as a hate crime.
Chalarca and Logunov, reached by phone, could not immediately comment because, Chalarca says, the two were headed to the hospital.
Miami Beach Police are seeking help in identifying the alleged assailants.
This year marks the 10th Anniversary of Miami Beach Pride. Gay Olympic Silver Medalist Gus Kenworthy served as this year’s grand marshal. He took to Twitter to condemn the attack.
“Homophobia does still exist,” he wrote “It's real [and] it's scary. My heart breaks for these victims & the entire LGBTQ community [because] we all feel the impact of these attacks. Pride events are a celebration of diversity, acceptance [and] love. I'm realizing now that they're more important than ever.”
Homophobia does still exist. It's real & it's scary. My heart breaks for these victims & the entire LGBTQ community bc we all feel the impact of these attacks. Pride events are a celebration of diversity, acceptance & love. I'm realizing now that they're more important than ever. https://t.co/HjMKv2yH9E
— Gus Kenworthy (@guskenworthy) April 10, 2018