Alleged gay hate crime on Sobe questioned

At left, Jordan Schaeffer is shown with his boyfriend, Eric Danko. Both allege a gay hate crime incident took place on March 14 in Miami Beach. Image via Schaeffer's FB profile page.

In a highly publicized, alleged gay hate crime incident that occurred on March 14 in Miami Beach at the BK Whopper Bar, the validity of events as portrayed by the victims is now being called into question.

According to the incident report, which was provided by the Miami Beach Police Department, both victims – Eric Danko and Jordan Schaeffer of LA – were initially "uncooperative" when approached by the responding officer.

Both victims also initially left the scene, where Schaeffer has told CBS Miami 4 that it was after a kissing session between Schaeffer and Danko that Schaeffer was attacked.

“It’s not right that anyone should suffer a hate crime and be a victim based off the person that they are,” Schaeffer said.

Schaeffer was left with a "lacerated lip" as a result of the altercation, the report says. Both Schaeffer and Danko were treated by Miami Beach Fire and Rescue at the scene.

The original report does not state use of derogatory gay terms by the attacker; however, the report was amended after the initial statement was given to police in which Danko and Schaeffer say they were called "faggots" before being attacked.

"This is why they feel this battery was a hate crime,” the report states.

Neither Schaeffer nor Danko returned phone calls, text messages or Facebook messages to SFGN requesting comment on the incident.

The report also states that Danko admitted to being under the influence of GHB, better known as the date rape drug.

Gay men ingest GHB for its altering affects, including higher sex drive and experience; but there is also a downside to taking the drug, such as erratic and violent behavior, according to the CDC.

Primary groups using GHB include party and nightclub attendees and bodybuilders, the CDC website states. The Whopper Bar, where the incident took place, is close to gay nightclub Twist.

Both Danko and Schaeffer refused photos of their injuries, according to the report. The manager of the Whopper Bar stated, "She did observe all parties involved in mutual combat."

Tim Baird, who posted on social media about the incident, said via a Facebook post he witnessed the altercation, and the story being told by Schaeffer and Danko is "completely inaccurate."

"As we saw it, he is mainly responsible for the fight, and the altercation had nothing to do with his sexual identity. I've already contacted the Miami (Beach) police to offer my perspective, if they want it,” Baird said.

Miami Beach PD spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez confirmed that they had been contacted by Baird, who was also visiting from Washington D.C., and that department LGBT liaison Juan Sanchez had reached out to him for additional information.

"We only have one side of the story," Rodriquez told SFGN. "We are looking to identify the attacker or attackers but to also get another side of the story. We encourage people to come forward."

Rodriguez said that the Miami Beach PD does not charge alleged attackers with hate crimes. It is an underline, secondary charge that will be determined by the Miami-Dade Office of the State Attorney (SAO), he said.

"We have partnered with the SAO, which is currently pursuing this as a felony battery. In this case, there are significant injuries," he said. "After we present the charges to the SAO, they make the decision."

If the SAO does determine this to be a hate crime then the penalty for the charges will "heighten," Rodriguez said.

The FBI has defined a hate crime as a “criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender, or gender identity.”

Regardless of whether this incident is classified as a hate crime, Miami Beach is a safe place for the LGBT community, advocates say.

"Miami Beach is one of the most visited cities on the planet which also welcomes over 1.2 million LGBT visitors annually. The negative incident rate for tourists visiting our community is extremely low. Although the situation that happened at Burger King is truly unfortunate, we have every confidence in our Police Chief Dan Oates and the Miami Beach Police Department to keep our city a very safe place for our LGBT tourists," said Steve Adkins of the LGBT Visitor Center on Miami Beach.

Rodriguez added, "I personally would never discourage any sort of affection to loved ones. Love is love...It is 2016. Everyone is able to do as they please and should do so freely."

Anthony Martinez Beven covers Miami-Dade County for SFGN. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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