No jail time for four men who battered a gay couple for holding hands after Pride

 

No jail time for four men who battered a gay couple for holding hands after Pride

 

In 2018, Rene Chalarca and Dimitri Lugonov attended Maimi Beach Pride. Shortly after the parade, as the couple were exiting a restroom in Lumus Park, they were holding hands and hugged – which provoked four men to brutally attack them, leaving both requiring medical attention.

The whole incident was caught on security cameras, making national news at the time as police appealed for information on the attackers.

 

“They start to hit us, like beating us, hard,” said Chalarca, one of the victims, at the time.

“It was, like, instant. I got hit, and they knocked me out,” said Logunov, who the attackers called a “fa*got” in Spanish, before punching him unconscious. “We probably provoked them because we were walking together, holding hands. It was gay Pride, South Beach was full of gay people.”

 

A third man, Helmut Muller, was standing near the restrooms and tried to break up the assault. He was hit by one of the attackers and knocked unconscious when he struck his head on the pavement.

 

Following police appeal and national news coverage, Pablo Reinaldo Romo-Figueroa, Juan Carlos Lopez, Adonis David Diaz, and Luis Manuel Alonso-Piovet all turned themselves in to authorities and were charged with aggravated battery.

 

All four defendants originally pled not guilty last year and tried to have the case dismissed, arguing self-defence under Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law – which says if you’re being attacked, you can fight back – even though video footage showed them attacking Chalarca and Logunov without provocation.

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Following a three-day hearing in October, the judge refused their motion, saying:

“There’s nothing in that video, and I have watched it over and over again, that showed me that any one of these defendants was in fear for their safety or their lives,” Judge Ariana Fajardo Orshan said.

 

The four eventually pleaded guilty to two counts of battery with prejudice, which are second-degree felonies. Alonso-Piovet also pleaded guilty to assault with prejudice on religious or institutional grounds, a misdemeanor.

They could have faced up to 30-years in jail. 

 

However, four and a half years later, under a plea deal made in October, a ruling on the case saw charges against the four reduced to two counts of battery with prejudice.

All four of the attackers got five years’ probation and 200 hours of community service. They will also be required to attend anger management classes. 

Pablo Reinaldo Romo-Figueroa, Juan Carlos Lopez, Adonis David Diaz, and Luis Manuel Alonso-Piovet Miami Beach Pride homophobic attack
The four attackers accepted a plea deal

As part of the plea deal, the four men had to apologise in court, per Miami Herrald.

“This is not me, I wish we acted a different way and I’m sure it’s not going to happen again,” Alonso said in court. “I offer my sincere apologies.”

“My actions that day don’t define who I am or how I was raised,” Romo-Figueroa said.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to learn from my mistakes,” said Diaz.

 

Logonov, one of the victims, said that he wanted to move on from the attack, four and a half years after it took place.

“Today, I’m taking a chance to rebuild my life,” he said. “I believe these gentlemen should have that chance, too.”

 

The judge accepted the plea deal.

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