Four suspects who are accused of attacking a gay couple attempted to use Florida's controversial "stand your ground" law in order to have the charges against them dismissed last week. A judge rejected their claims.
"There's nothing in that video -- and I watched it over and over again -- that showed me that any of these defendants was in fear for their safety or their lives," Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ariana Fajardo Orshan said at the conclusion of a three-day hearing last week, according to local TV station WSVN.
"I cannot find that any one of these defenses can be used for prosecution, so the motion to dismiss is denied," Orshan said.
The four men are accused of attacking Rene Chalarca and Dmitry Logunov during Miami Pride in 2018.
The two were holding hands as they left a restroom when they were attacked. The accused attackers are Juan Carlos Lopez, Luis Alonso Piovet, Adonis Diaz, and Pablo Reinaldo Romo-Figueroa. The incident was caught on video.
(Editor's Note: Some readers may find the video below difficult to watch.)
The four have been charged with battery with a hate-crime enhancement, according to WSVN.
Attorneys for the suspects cited Florida's "stand your ground" law as a defense and argued that the gay men were the aggressors. The law allows someone to use deadly force if they feel their life is threatened
"Prosecutors said Lopez attacked the men after Chalarca accidentally brushed him coming out of the bathroom," the Miami Herald reports. "They allegedly began to call the victims an anti-gay slur in Spanish, police said. As depicted on surveillance video, the attackers repeatedly punched the two gay men, in the face, causing cuts and bruises. The blows temporarily knocked out Logunov."
The next court hearing is planned for March 11.