Gay couple beaten by gang of four after holding hands at a food truck

The attackers also used homophobic slurs against the victims.

A gay couple in Pasco, in Washington state, were harassed and attacked by a gang of four after they held hands outside of a taco truck. Eight witnesses told police that the group of men began harassing the gay couple outside of the truck, and some heard them using the homophobic slur "f*g." The gang then punched one of the victims in the face, before the rest began kicking him repeatedly while he was on the floor.

After the attack, the gang fled the scene, but were arrested after witnesses identified them. Court documents say that the victim suffered a concussion and bone fractures. They also revealed that the victim was left bleeding on the floor.

The gang of four, identified as Pedro Mata Contreras (36), Oscar Emestor Mata (38), Ulises Missael Reyes-Mata (24) and Jose Torres (37), were charged with felony malicious harassment. Their bail has been set between £3,500 and £20,000, with all four men maintaining their innocence. An arraignment for the case is expected for 31 December.

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Figures released by the FBI last month show that one in five hate crimes in the United States was motivated by an anti-LGBTQ bias.

Last year, in the US there were 7,120 hate crime incidents recorded. Out of these incidents, people were targeted because of their sexual orientation 1,196 times, while 168 were targeted because of their gender identity. Breaking the figures down even more, 726 men were targeted because they were gay, 129 women were targeted for being a lesbian, 303 were targeted for being LGBTQ and 21 people were targeted for being bisexual.

A further 17 people were targeted because they were straight. Meanwhile, 142 people were targeted because of their trans identity, while 26 were targeted because of their gender non-conforming identity. Despite less hate crimes being committed last year in the US when compared to 2017, the amount of hate crimes against the LGBTQ community is on the rise.

In 2017, the LGBTQ community comprised of around 17% of all hate crimes committed in the US, but that number has now jumped to 19%.

As for members of the trans community, hate crimes targeting them have increased by 34%.

Related: Russian girl hospitalised after horrific homophobic attack from seven men

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