In two separate incidents this Saturday, people coming from San Francisco's Pride celebrations were jumped by groups of people who made potentially-homophobic remarks before beating them, in attacks the San Francisco Police Department says they believe to be hate crimes.
At around 5:30 on Saturday night, two women, ages 27 and 24, were on 9th Street near Mission walking back from the Civic Center Pride festival when they were approached by five men who, says SFPD spokesperson Officer Albie Esparza, made "derogatory comments" to the victims before attacking them.
The two women were punched and kicked by the group, described only as three male Hispanic men and two African-American men, ranging in age from 16 to 20. A couple of the suspects, reports KRON, were wearing flannel shirts.
The 27-year-old's left wrist was broken in the attack and the other woman's head was cut and bruised, Esparza says.
In the second attack, a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence (photo above) and her husband were leaving the Castro Pink Saturday celebration at 8:30 Saturday night, when a group of four assailants made "derogatory remarks" before beating the pair, says Esparza.
According to Esparza, the suspects are described as a Black female aged 18-25, two Hispanic men aged 18-25, and a white male also aged 18-25. All three of the men had long hair in ponytails, Esparza says.
Esparza says that both of the victims complained of pain from the beating, but did not require hospitalization.
In both of these cases, Esparza says, the derogatory remarks that were made to the victims prior to the attacks could qualify as hate speech, which is why the cases are being handled by SFPD's Hate Crimes Unit. But what were the derogatory remarks? SFPD isn't saying, because, says Esparza, "we don't give out particulars or details in these kinds of cases," because having that information out there at this point in the investigation could jeopardize the case.
Esparza also noted that timing of the remarks is especially significant in determining when something's a hate crime and when it isn't. Apparently, to fall under the umbrella of a "hate crime," the remark must be made prior to the attack, and the victim's protected class must be the reason for the attack.
"If someone's in the midst of a bar brawl and says something out of anger, that doesn't qualify," says Esparza.
However, these attacks, it appears, don't occupy that grey area. "It's really unfortunate that this happened to people who were just out trying to have a good time," Esparza says. "It's totally unacceptable."
In both cases, all the suspects remain at large. Therefore, Esparza urges anyone who might have information on either attack to contact their anonymous tip line at 415-575-4444, or to text a tip by sending it to TIP411 with the word SFPD in the text field.