PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey believes that at least some people should be charged in a high-profile altercation that left two gay men injured.
Detectives were presenting their findings Monday to prosecutors, Ramsey told The Philadelphia Inquirer. District Attorney Seth Williams is expected to make the final decision on whether to file charges over the alleged assault, which involved a gay couple in their late 20s and about a dozen young men and women leaving a downtown restaurant.
“We feel that there is sufficient evidence to have charges placed against some of the individuals there,” Ramsey told the newspaper.
Police initially called the case a potential hate crime, but Pennsylvania’s hate-crime statute does not cover crimes motivated by anti-gay bias.
“Obviously, in my opinion, (that) needs to change,” Ramsey said.
Detectives have been interviewing some of those involved in the Sept. 11 encounter as well as witnesses. Others have declined to cooperate.
Article continues belowThe victims have said the group hurled gay slurs and some threw punches that left one of them with a broken orbital bone and a wired jaw.
Defense lawyer Louis Busico, who represents one member of the group under investigation, acknowledges that an apparent argument broke out and “got physical.”
“However, this altercation was in no way driven by any individuals’ sexual orientation,” Busico told The Associated Press. “Unfortunately, assaults happen all the time.”
A security video of the large group strolling downtown was posted online by police and led amateur sleuths to identify some of them as former students at Archbishop Wood High School. One man has since stepped down as a part-time basketball coach at the Catholic school.
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