BY NATASHA BARSOTTI – NBC News reports that the Long Beach police are investigating an alleged attack on a gay man as a possible hate crime following an incident outside a bar involving four US Marines.
The Marines were arrested in connection with the beating of a film student outside the Silver Fox bar in Long Beach, where he had reportedly gone with his boyfriend. According to the account, the student, who had blacked out during the incident, was hospitalized overnight but was released with "non-life threatening injuries."
The suspects' names will not be released until charges are formally filed, NBC notes, adding that the Marines were released on bail and were back with their units. But UT San Diego News has reported the names of the suspects.
CBS News reports that the Marines entered the Silver Fox just prior to closing time Sept 3 and, according to the bartender, seemed "visibly uncomfortable." The report cites the bartender, John Barnes, as saying that one of the Marines called him "sweetheart" before he and the other Marines allegedly "jumped a young man" after leaving the bar. Police say at least one of the suspects reportedly aimed anti-gay slurs at the student.
Media reports say that two other men who tried to help the student were also allegedly attacked and sustained minor injuries. The Marine Corps is pursuing its own investigation of the incident, according to spokesperson Major Manuel Delarosa.
"This is behaviour that's not acceptable in the Marine Corps," Delarosa told NBC. "Any crimes of intolerance are unacceptable and not tolerated as far as behaviour expected of a United States Marine."