Philadelphia police are investigating whether an attack on a gay couple last week was a hate crime — which the victims insist it was.
The men, whose names have not been released, were walking in the Center City neighborhood around 10:45 p.m. Thursday when they were confronted by about a dozen men and women, several of whom appeared to be drunk, reports Philadelphia NBC affiliate WCAU. Someone in the group asked if they were a couple, and when they said yes, several people began punching and kicking them.
“I had three, four guys on me,” one of the victims, age 28, told the station. “I turned around and saw [my boyfriend's] head hit the ground, like hard. I was horrified. I thought he was dead.”
“Three guys were on me, taking turns on me,” added his boyfriend, 26. The assailants screamed antigay slurs during the attack, the victims said.
Both men were injured. “I have multiple facial fractures on both sides of my face,” the 26-year-old man said. “I have an orbital fracture, which is like the eye socket. I had a big laceration that was from the tip of my nose all the way to my lip that was gushing blood.” The assailants also stole a cell phone, a wallet, and credit cards, the men say.
Police are still searching for suspects. While they have not yet classified the attack as a hate crime, the victims say they were definitely targeted for being gay.
“It's not just us,” the 28-year-old man said. “I don't want this to happen to anyone else. It's not fair.”
The Philadelphia police urge anyone with information on the crime to call them. Watch the TV report below.