Two men accused in two separate baseball-bat attacks were charged Tuesday with committing a hate crime after prosecutors concluded that the alleged attackers thought their victims were gay.
The attacks occurred Sunday in Los Angeles, not far from West Hollywood, where a September 1 attack on gay actor Trev Broudy is being prosecuted as a robbery and assault. The decision by county district attorney Steve Cooley not to file hate-crime charges in that case has prompted picketing of Cooley's office and a petition drive to recall him.
Cooley's office said hate-crime charges were filed in Sunday's attack after investigators determined that the two male victims were assaulted because of their perceived sexual orientation. It wasn't revealed whether the victims are indeed gay. One of the victims told KCAL-TV that his attackers used antigay slurs.
The first attack occurred at about 5:30 a.m., when a 46-year-old man was struck on the head with a bat by a pair of assailants. Soon after, a 19-year-old man was also assaulted. He warded off blows from the bat but was cut by a knife, authorities said.
Ever Wilfredo Rivera and Selvin Orlando Campos, both 19 and from Los Angeles, were charged with two counts each of hate crime, robbery, and assault with a deadly weapon. The hate-crime counts can add up to four years on any sentence. Rivera was jailed in lieu of $185,000 bail, while Campos was held in lieu of $135,000.