London police are calling it a vicious attack that left employees at a popular gay bar with broken bones.
“This was a particularly vicious attack which stemmed from a minor incident and involved the use of homophobic language,” said Detective Constable Phill Govett in a statement.
According to police, staff asked two men and a woman to move from a smoking area of the bar. The trio responded with homophobic comments. When they were told to leave, they became violent.
The three allegedly fractured the skull of one employee and broke the foot of another while making homophobic comments.
Police arrested all three suspects. The two men, 42 and 30 years old, and the woman, 20 years old, have been released under investigation. Police are appealing to the public for more information on the attack and asking witnesses to come forward.
“Hate crime in any form will not be tolerated by police, and we will take all possible action to bring perpetrators of these offences to justice,” said Govett.
The incident is the latest against a backdrop of rising hate crimes in London and in the U.K. The city reported an uptick in hate crimes across every category last year, with race-motivated hate crimes making the most dramatic increase.
But hate crimes based on sexual orientation also saw a dramatic jump, increasing by nearly 80 percent over 2017.
On May 6, three men suffered an acid attack near a London gay bar just before dawn, setting off fears of a hate crime. However, the bar, Dalton Superstore, reported that the victims had not come from the bar.
“The three men had not visited our venue, and the attack happened long after we had closed,” the bar wrote on its social media. “There is no indication that this senseless and brutal attack was motivated by homophobia.”