- The Magazine
A father of a man who allegedly helped beat up a gay couple after a Miami Beach Pride event claims his son wasn’t motivated by homophobia because he was raised by two dads.
Juan Carlos Lopez is one of four men charged in connection to the attack of two gay men in April. The couple, Rene Chalarca and Dmitry Logunov, claim the assault was prompted because they were holding hands. After CCTV footage was released of the attack, the men turned themselves in to police.
Juan Lopez, Juan Carlos’ father, told NBC that neither his son nor his son’s friends would have ever committed a hate crime against the LGBTQ community, because he and his partner of 15 years had raised their son to be tolerant of their community.
“My son and his three other friends would never make any attack to any gay people,” Juan Lopez said to NBC. “I’m sure 100 percent of that.”
The four suspects, Juan Carlos Lopez, Adonis Diaz, Pablo Reinaldo Romo and Luis M. Alonso, were originally charged with aggravated battery, but that was elevated to hate crime charges after prosecutors argued the attack could have been motivated by homophobia. They face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.
Dennis Gonzales, lawyer for Carlos Lopez, said that having gay role models in their lives shows that the attack could not have been motivated by anti-gay bias.
“These kids grew up with their friend Juan — their father has been in a gay relationship the last 15 years,” Gonzales said. “These kids have participated in that — that’s at issue.”
According to police, and footage recovered from a security camera, the four men began beating up the gay couple after one of the victims accidentally bumped into Lopez. They then began calling the victims “maricones,” an anti-gay slur in Spanish, police said.
Both victims sustained cuts and bruises over their body and face, and Logunov lost consciousness temporarily.
A Good Samaritan, Helmut Muller, tried to intervene and stop the group, but was also beaten up. He ended up receiving four stitches for a cut to the back of the head.
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