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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Four men who turned themselves in for attacking a couple who were leaving a Gay Pride event on Miami Beach are now being charged under Florida’s hate-crime enhancement law.

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Juan Lopez, Luis Alonso, Adonis Diaz and Pablo Reinaldo Romo. (Source: Miami-Dade Corrections)

Juan Lopez, Luis Alonso, Adonis Diaz and Pablo Reinaldo Romo were originally charged with aggravated battery but the penalty is now being increased because it is being ruled a hate crime.

Now each man could face up to 30 years in prison if convicted of the attack that took place during Miami Beach’s annual gay-pride parade on April 8.

The attack happened near the restrooms at 6th Street and Ocean Drive.

“We were coming out of the bathroom and they started hitting on us, punching us, and kicking us when we were on the floor. They had no reason to, basically killing us,” said Rene Chalarca following the attack.

Dimitri (left) and Rene are thankful for all the people who have offered help and support after they were attacked on Miami Beach. (Source: CBS4)

Chalarca and his companion Dmitry Logunov were both repeatedly punched.

“They were calling us faggots,” said Dmitry. “They were Spanish speaking and they called us faggots and there was fighting and I know this was gay pride.”

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“It seems like they wanted to kill us because if you see the video it seems like there were a lot of people beating him and me,” said Dmitry.

Police released surveillance video of the attack that shows the men hitting Rene and Dmitry, who attempted to run away.

Watch the surveillance video here.

 

A man who saw Rene and Dmitry being chased tried to help. Helmut Muller was hit and knocked to the ground by the suspects. He had to get staples for a cut to the back of the head.

The City of Miami Beach honors a good Samaritan who jumped in to help a gay couple that was being beaten by four men after a gay pride parade. (Source: CBS4)

Miami Beach city officials later honored him for helping the beaten couple.

“I feel bad because they destroyed my life, a big part of my life and I lost my job and I lost many things,” Rene said. “It’s a problem if people don’t approve of someone for being gay or another religion or from another race or another country,” he added.

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Under Florida law, aggravated battery is normally a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. But if it’s committed because of someone’s sexual orientation, the crime becomes a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

Peter D'Oench