Two Marines were charged with battery after beating a gay man so viciously that he was left unconscious on the street in Savannah, Georgia. The victim is still hospitalized, reports the Augusta Chronicle.
"[A police] officer rushed to the intersection and found 26-year-old Kieran Daly unconscious, with friends performing emergency first aid, a report stated. The officer caught up with the two men who were running, identified as 22-year-old Keil Joseph Cronauer and 23-year-old Christopher Charles Stanzel. Police records show both men are stationed at Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, S.C. Cronauer and Stanzel told police they were being harassed by a gay man and wanted to get away from him. But witnesses painted a different picture, according to the report.
"They told police before the men were seen dashing away from Johnson Square, one of them grew angry because they thought Daly was winking at them and struck Daly in the back of the head with his fist, knocking him unconscious. Saturday night, from his bed at Memorial University Medical Center, Daly insisted he tried to convince the Marines he was not winking at them. 'The guy thought I was winking at him,' Daly said. 'I told him, 'I was squinting, man. ... I'm tired.' Daly said one of the men told him he demanded respect because he served in Iraq. And at least one hurled slurs at him as he tried to walk away. 'That's the last thing I remember is walking away,' Daly said."
Cronauer and Stanzel were booked into Chatham County jail on misdemeanor battery charges and later released to military police, report the Chronicle and the Savannah Morning News. The Savannah Police Department's LGBT liaison is investigating.
The victim suffered bruising to the brain and two seizures immediately after the attack. To add insult to the already serious injuries: Georgia does not have a hate crimes statute and the victim says he "only came out six months ago". Probably not the coming out party that he expected.