A gay couple have alleged that police responded with indifference when they reported being badly beaten after the Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade on the weekend.
Rene Chalarca and Dimitri Logunov were attacked by four men on Sunday evening after they held hands and hugged in a park, LGBTQ Nation has reported.
“It was, like, instant. I got hit, and they knocked me out,” said Logunov.
A bystander, Helmut Muller, tried to intervene and was also attacked by the men, sustaining a head injury.
Chalarca and Logunov said that when they reported the crime, police did not initially take them seriously, despite their injuries.
The couple said the attackers were still visible but that police said they were too far away to bother chasing.
They said police told them to “stop the drama, shut the fuck up” and “put ice on your face at home and you’ll be all right”.
They later went to a hospital, where they found Chalarca had an eye injury that may require surgery.
Muller said he believed the attack was a hate crime.
“I want them to be proud for who they are and to know there’s people out there that care about gay people,” he said.
On Monday the couple went to Miami Beach’s LGBT Visitor Center, where they were connected with LGBT-friendly police officers.
“They were very nice and helpful,” said Logunov.
“Then we met with the detective who leads our case, and he was nice and professional as well. Today’s experience with the police was much better.”
Police spokesperson Ernesto Rodriguez said the assault on the two men was “unnecessary” and “uncalled for”.
The attackers were caught on surveillance video.
They allegedly used homophobic slurs, but police have not commented on whether it is being treated as a hate crime.
Four suspects have now surrendered to Miami Beach Police and are expected to be charged with felony offences.