Four Florida men who authorities say were the ones captured on surveillance cameras pummeling a gay couple last month are now facing felony hate crime charges.
Footage of the April 8 attack shows Rene Chalarca and his boyfriend, Dmitry Logunov, being brutally beaten by four men after the Miami Beach Gay Pride festival. The couple was holding hands just before the assault.
When a bystander, Helmut Muller Estrada, attempted to protect the victims, he too was beaten until he was knocked unconscious and awoke in a pool of his own blood, according to reports.
The suspects are Luis M. Alonso Piovet, 20; Juan Carlos Lopez, 21; Adonis Diaz, 21; and Pablo Reinaldo Romo-Figueroa, 21. They turned themselves in the following day after their faces were plastered on the news and social media. At the time, authorities charged them with aggravated battery. Now they’ll be facing new charges of aggravated battery committed with prejudice, the Miami Herald reported Friday.
During the assault, police said, the four men called the victims “maricones,” an anti-gay slur in Spanish. Chalarca said he believes he and his boyfriend were attacked simply because of their sexuality.
“We were together,” Chalarca told WPLG, a local ABC affiliate. “So for me, it’s like, yes, it was a hate crime.”
With the new charges, the men each face up to 30 years behind bars.