MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A special meeting was held Tuesday to discuss what can be done about hate crimes following two attacks on Miami Beach.
“I just got bashed on Washington Ave.,” the latest victim told CBS4’s Silva Harapetian.
The man, who didn’t want to have his name public, was convinced by Miami Beach police to file a report after he was attacked at the Burger King on Washington Avenue on Sunday afternoon.
He said a group of people used gay slurs as he tried to get away, but they followed him out to the street.
“He tells me, ‘Hey [slur], I’m not done with you yet.’ When I turned around, he throws his drink in my face,” he said.
The situation escalated, with his father in the car watching helplessly.
“I told him ‘don’t get out,’” he said.
The victim admits he tried to fight back, but got hit multiple times.
“He hit me in the nose and I’m bleeding profusely,” he said.
His attack is the second one reported in three days.
On Monday, Ken Wilcox told CBS4 he was attacked from behind while walking his dog near Flamingo Park. He said he was beaten and left on the side walk for hours.
Police are still searching for witnesses and suspects.
“There are certain things we need victims to do. One of them is to call us right away,” said Miami Beach Police Chief Daniel Oates.
The Miami Beach Police Department and LGBTQ community held a public meeting encouraging victims to come forward.
This victim admits to posting his attack on Facebook.
“I had to defend myself as best as I could,” he said.
But he was hesitant to report it.
“I felt humiliated, I felt embarrassed and I felt emasculated. I think that’s why a lot of victims of hate crime don’t come forward,” he explained.
According to Miami Beach, hate crimes are on decline.
In first five months of 2017, nine have been reported – expected to be down from 2016 when there were a total of 14.
To encourage victims to come forward, Miami Beach police have a phone number victims can call to leave a voicemail. The number is (305) 604-2110.
They’ve also launched a safe place initiative – 20 businesses acting as safe haven for victims and witnesses to take shelter until police arrive.
“We also implore you leaders in the community to get the message out – that we are a department that takes this seriously,” Oates said.
For information on the safe place initiative, click here.