Same-sex couple gets in fight with man at Whopper Bar after confrontation about kissing
Couple, 3 other men fought, bystanders watched
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A same-sex couple got into a fight with another man this month at a BK Whopper Bar in Miami Beach after the man confronted them about kissing inside the restaurant, police said.
According to an incident report, Eric Danko, 25, and Jordon Schaeffer, 25, were inside the restaurant at 1101 Washington Ave. in the early morning of March 14 when they were approached by a man who directed derogatory words toward them.
He even used the F-word, a homophobic slur for gay men.
"Miami Beach, Miami Dade County and all across the country there is just no place for hate," Miami Beach police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez said. "Everybody should be able to be here and express themselves freely."
Surveillance video shows the couple and three other men getting into a fight as bystanders watch and some people try to separate the men.
Police said Danko chased after the men after they had left the Whopper Bar and got into another fight with them about a block away.
The restaurant is located right across the street from a police station and around the corner from the gay bar Twist.
According to the report, an officer spotted Danko walking north in the middle of traffic on Washington Avenue.
Police said Danko appeared to be extremely inebriated and refused to follow simple commands to get out of the street.
Police said Danko was placed in handcuffs after he slapped an officer's hand away as the officer tried to help him walk out of the street.
Schaeffer was initially uncooperative, but eventually told officers about the incident, police said.
Schaeffer suffered a cut to his lip and Danko suffered injuries to his face.
Both men were treated at the scene by Miami Beach Fire Rescue, but refused further assistance.
Police said Danko was taken out of handcuffs after he calmed down.
They said Danko was uncooperative at first about details leading up to the fight and only said that his father is a federal judge and he was beat up and had "never been in a physical altercation before."
Police said Danko had to be warned several times to calm down and said that he told officers that he was under the influence of the drug "GHB."
Police were not able to prove that Danko was under the influence of any drugs.
Officers spoke to the manager of the Whopper Bar who said that she witnessed the fight, but was not sure what caused the altercation to begin.
Police said the couple believes the incident was a hate crime and were targeted only because they are in a same-sex relationship.
News of the attack has surfaced just a week before Miami Beach Gay Pride Festival 2016, which is set to take place from April 8 to 10.
On Thursday, those on South Beach were talking about the attack, and condemning the attackers.
"There are a lot of people in the world and if they're afraid to get out and see it then maybe they should stay and not even go to a Burger King," said Mark Myer, a tourist visiting South Beach.
Melissa Merwin, who is visiting South Florida with her girlfriend, said she was surprised that the attack happened on Miami Beach.
"You think it would be more accepted especially here with the diverse population," she said.
Miami Beach police said they are working to identify the man seen in a black shirt who was involved in the fight and a man seen in a long-sleeve white shirt and blue jeans, who may have information about the incident.
Anyone with information is asked to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.
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