FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – James Garcia said he was walking his dog on Sunday morning in Fort Lauderdale when a man he had never seen before approached him and asked him if he was gay.
Garcia said that after responding in the affirmative the man attacked him. The Fort Lauderdale Police Department arrested Maurice Antwan Charles on Tuesday.
“He punched me really hard. I fell to the ground bleeding,” Garcia said. “My phone was covered in blood. I couldn’t call 911. My fingers kept slipping.”
The Florida Department of Corrections released Charles, 36 from prison on Dec. 14, 2021, records show. He is also known as “Big Jit” and “Big Youngster.”
Charles was convicted of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon in 2017 in Miami-Dade County. He also had an aggravated battery case in 2008. His registered address was in Miami Gardens.
The attack on Saturday was near State Road A1A and Oakland Park Boulevard. Garcia suffered two fractures on cartilage. He required 10 stitches.
Charles is facing an aggravated battery charge. Detectives are still investigating the case, so it is still unclear if Broward County prosecutors will be charging him with a hate crime.