South Florida Sun-Sentinel
February 28, 2008
FORT LAUDERDALE - Police are investigating another possible hate crime against a gay person after a man was beaten outside a popular city diner amid a torrent of anti-gay slurs.
The newest case has spread fear among Fort Lauderdale's gay community in a city that prides itself on being gay-friendly to attract tourism. The city made national news in gay media last week with the murder of Simmie Williams Jr., a 17-year-old killed in the 1000 block of Sistrunk Avenue.
He was found shot Friday morning moments after witnesses heard an argument between him and two men. Police are investigating the case as a possible hate crime.
Less than 24 hours later, Fort Lauderdale resident Melbourne Brunner was beaten outside The Floridian 24-hour diner by a man who shouted anti-gay slurs at him and his partner.
The pair were eating breakfast at about 3:30 a.m. Saturday when the man walked up and began shouting at the two, according to a police report. At one point, the man made a violent motion with his hands, saying, "this is how I break faggots' necks," the report said.Brunner and his partner left the diner, but the man followed and blocked him from getting into his car."He punched me in the face. I hit the sidewalk," Brunner said Tuesday.
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