Florida man needed 10 stitches after being punched by ‘convicted felon’ after he was asked ‘Are you gay?’ – but cops HAVEN’T filed hate crime charges
- James Garcia was punched in the face on Easter morning by repeat felon Maurice Charles
- Charles did two stretches behind bars, both for violent crimes
- Garcia was walking his dog, Delilah, when the attack happened
- He suffered 10 stitches and fractured cartilage on both sides of his nose
- Fort Lauderdale investigators took three days to capture the suspect
- Police still haven’t determined whether to classify it as a hate crime
A Florida dog walker needed eight stitches after being punched in the face by a man who asked if he was gay – but cops have declined to charge the case as a hate crime.
James Garcia still has the stitches in his face from the brutal assault on Easter Sunday morning. He says that Maurice Charles, 36, who spent four years behind bars for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon in 2017, came up behind him on April 17 and slugged him.
‘Are you gay,’ Garcia told Chanel 7 News that Charles asked him before the attack.
‘I didn’t respond, it just happened so quickly that I didn’t have time to react except falling down.’
James Garcia suffered 10 stitches and fractures to the cartilage on both sides of his nose after getting slugged on Easter morning
Garcia said that his assailant asked if he is gay, the punched him in the face, knocking him down
Garcia works in out reach for the New York City mayor, according to his LinkedIn page, and splits his time between Manhattan and Fort Lauderdale,
Garcia works in outreach for the New York City mayor and splits his time between Manhattan and Fort Lauderdale according to his LinkedIn page.
He says he was walking his toy dog, Delilah, near State Road A1A and Oak Park Boulevard on Sunday, when Charles attacked him.
‘He punched me really hard,’ Garcia told Local 10 News. ‘My phone was covered in blood. I couldn’t call 911. My fingers kept slipping.’
In addition to 10 stitches, on his forehead, nose and lip, he suffered fractured cartilage on both sides of his nose.
It took three days before Fort Lauderdale Police were able to track down Charles, a Miami Gardens man, who also goes by the nicknames ‘Big Jit,’ ‘Big Youngster,’ and ‘K.O.’
It took Fort Lauderdale detectives three days to find Maurice Charles, 36, who was living nearby, and charge him for the assault against Garcia
Maurice Charles, pictured here, did two terms behind bars for violent crimes
Garcia said that was a terrifying 72 hour period and he’s still haunted by the attack.
‘When I close my eyes I see this attacker every day,’ Garcia told Local 10. ‘I hear his voice. I see his face.’
Authorities caught up with him not far from where the victim lives and charged Charles with aggravated battery and a judge set bond at $15,000. If he is able to post bail, he will still be required to wear an ankle monitor.
Charles has a violent criminal history. He was locked up in 2007 after he was convicted of robbery with a deadly weapon and did a nearly-two-year bid in 2012 for dealing drugs within a 1000 yards of a school.
Fort Lauderdale detectives are still investigating if it will be charged as a hate crime, a fact that Garcia finds troubling.
‘I am concerned that it’s not going to be ranked as a hate crime and it should,’ he told News 7.