WASHINGTON - D.C. police are searching for three suspects who severely beat two men early Sunday morning in what is being described as a suspected hate crime.
Police say homophobic slurs were shouted out as the men were attacked near a gay bar at 10th Street and U Street in Northwest D.C.
During the attack, one of the men suffered a concussion while the other victim sustained a broken nose and a chipped tooth.
A person standing nearby filmed part of the assault on a cellphone and posted it to Twitter. The video, which is about 27 seconds, shows two men assaulting one of the victims by kicking and then punching him in the head while the second victim lands on the pavement apparently knocked unconscious. The three attackers then run off before two Good Samaritans come to the aid of the man on the ground.
The victims reported to police that homophobic slurs were yelled out during the assault. Police believe the attack was unprovoked.
Both victims were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
"This violent criminal act does not serve the District of Columbia and it certainly doesn't reflect the D.C. values that we hold true here in the District of Columbia," said D.C. Police Lt. Brett Parson of the Special Liaison Unit. "We take these very seriously and we know that while it was a crime against two individuals that were injured here, there are many, many other people, not just in the LGBT community, but in the surrounding neighborhood and also their friends, family members and co-workers who may be impacted by a crime like this. And that is why it is so important that members of the community who may have information to get that information to us so that we can bring these people to justice."
Based on statistics posted to the Metropolitan Police Department's website, there were 163 bias-related crimes during the first 11 months of 2017, which is 60 more than at the same time period in 2016. By far, the majority of the assaults were based on sexual orientation and race.
A GoFundMe account has been created for the victims of the attack. You can learn more about how you can help here.