Prosecutors upgrade charges in teen’s ‘hateful’ beating over gender identity; detectives search for 2 suspects

Warning: Videos may be disturbing to some

Misdemeanor charges have been upgraded to felonies against two of at least three teenagers seen on video brutally beating an LGBTQ teen.

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. – Misdemeanor charges have been upgraded to felonies against two of at least three teenagers seen on video brutally attacking an LGBTQ teen at a neighborhood park in Pompano Beach, Local 10 News learned Friday.

The teens, aged 15 and 16, are charged with battery and a crime of prejudice, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office. Detectives are still searching for two more suspects.

“Don’t come around me with that gay (expletive),” the teens said, according to the victim.

It’s the second time 14-year-old Chad Sanford was attacked. In 2021, Sanford made national headlines after being attacked and slammed to the ground by a group of older kids at Deerfield Beach Middle School as others just watched.

“Under the State of Florida statues, if you commit a crime that is based on hate...and you attack them or harm them because of that this is what’s called an enhancement,” former prosecutor Melba Pearson said.

Video shows a group of teenagers viciously attacking a student who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Detectives are searching for two more suspects.

Pearson is now with FIU’s Center for Administration of Justice. She said the video should be a wake-up call.

“I think it’s on all of us to be vigilant, to speak out and to make sure to be an ally when somebody says something hateful,” she said. “You say ‘this is not acceptable.’”

BSO’s investigation is still ongoing and there could be more arrests and charges to come, an agency spokesperson said.

The teens could face multiple years in prison, depending on how they are charged.


About the Authors:

Christian De La Rosa joined Local 10 News in April 2017 after spending time as a reporter and anchor in Atlanta, San Diego, Orlando and Panama City Beach.

Chris Gothner joined the Local 10 News team in 2022 as a Digital Journalist.