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Same-Sex Couple Speaks Out After Alleged Attack In Center City

By Tim Jimenez

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Philadelphia police continue to investigate an attack in Center City late last week in which the victims were allegedly targeted because they were gay.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey says they don't take this type of incident lightly.

"We do take it super seriously, but you've got a lot of ignorant people out there," he said.

The incident took place September 11th at 16th and Chancellor Streets. Police say two men, ages 26 and 28, were walking together when a group of males and females approached.

Police say someone asked the two men if they were together. Their answer was yes and, authorities say, the group attacked.

Monday night, both men spoke with CBS 3 Eyewitness News on the condition that they wouldn't be identified.

"Three guys just started pummeling me, and knocked me to the ground. I hit the ground hard and I was out hard," one victim said.

With a large cut and bruises to his face and his jaw wired shut due to severe orbital fractures, the 28-year-old man and his 26-year-old boyfriend were both determined to tell their story.

"We want to find these people, because we don't want this to ever happen to somebody else again."

The two men were walking near 16th and Chancellor Streets in Center City.

Just before 11 p.m., they say a group of about 12 people, men and women, who were white, well dressed and in their early 20's, randomly confronted them.

"'What is this your f'ing boyfriend?' And I said 'yes this is my f'ing boyfriend,'" the 26-year-old man said.

And with that, the couple says they were pummeled by the group.

Some were yelling gay slurs.

Commissioner Ramsey says the suspects will be tracked down.

"You do have some ignorant people out there that choose to engage in this kind of conduct. And, if convicted, hopefully they get very stiff sentences," Ramsey said.

The 28-year-old victim, hospitalized since Thursday night, just got out Monday morning.

His jaw will be wired shut for eight weeks.

"In this day and age, it's just surprising this stuff happens in the middle of Center City Philadelphia," he said.

The victims tell CBS 3 Eyewitness News police have surveillance pictures of the suspects and they believe it is a matter of time they identify them or someone who knows them comes forward.

Commissioner Ramsey says when the suspects are caught, it will be up to the District Attorney's office to decide if they will be charged with a hate crime.

"Looking at witness statements, it looks like a hate crime, but the DA will charge officially once we bring these people into custody," Ramsey said. "And I'm sure we will."

CBS 3 Eyewitness News reporter Todd Quinones contributed to this report.

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