APD investigating possible weekend hate crime

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by JESSICA HOLLOWAY / KVUE News and photojournalist ERIN COKER

kvue.com

Posted on September 24, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 5 at 5:35 PM

AUSTIN -- Police detectives are investigating a possible hate crime which took place over the weekend.

Investigators were called to 4th Street and Colorado Friday night in downtown Austin.

Nick Soret and Andrew Oppleman say they were getting pizza at Roppolo's food trailer when a man began picking a fight with Soret. When Oppleman got involved, the man punched him in the face, breaking eight of his teeth.

"He kept on pounding on my friend, pounding on my friend. He threw me off balance. I fell back to the construction area, got up again a little bit and turned to him. All of a sudden, his fist was in my mouth. Eight teeth were on the floor. I'm bleeding all over. He ran away. His friend was standing there laughing like it was some kind of joke," said Oppleman.

Oppleman believes he was targeted because he is gay.

"We're easy targets. We all know we don't want to fight. We just want to walk away," said Oppleman.

Police arrested the attacker's friend for public intoxication. Sources say he is not cooperating with police.

"If it is determined that it is a hate crime, then we can bring the suspect to justice and prosecute him as such," said Senior Austin Police Officer Veneza Bremner.

Bremner says it's up to the district attorney to decide if this was a hate crime.

The men are calling on witnesses to come forward and are hoping police will track down the attacker.

"I'm an innocent by-stander trying to enjoy Austin, for what it's worth. Unfortunately, this is what I got back," said Oppleman.

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