Miami-Dade prosecutors are charging a group of four men with hate-crime charges. The four defendants plan to plead not guilty.
The quartet allegedly attacked a gay couple after this year’s Pride celebration in Miami Beach.
Prosecutors had originally planned to lodge charges of aggravated battery, but moved the claim to hate crime status last Thursday.
In April, the victims (Rene Chalarca and Dmitry Logunov) were holding hands in line for a public bathroom near the city’s Ocean Drive. After an accidental collision with Juan Carlos Lopez, Lopez (and three others), allegedly attacked the pair.
Video surveillance of the attack seems to show Lopez and three other men (Luis Piovet, Adonis Diaz, and Pablo Romo-Figueroa) beating the pair while yelling various slurs.
The video was released, and the four men turned themselves in shortly after.
Helmut Muller Estrada, a Good Samaritan who came to the defense of the gay couple was later awarded a civic award by Miami Beach.
If found guilty, the four men face an estimated thirty years in jail.