NEW ORLEANS -- A hate crime that allegedly unfolded in the Marigny near Frenchmen Street is being investigated by the New Orleans Police Department.
Police confirm the victim in this case was severely beaten, lost consciousness and then was hospitalized
"A hate crime is a criminal act or an attempted criminal act, against a group of individuals because of who they are or who they love," said SarahJane Brady with the Forum for Equality.
The NOPD confirmed a man was cuddling with a male companion inside a Marigny bar during the early morning hours of Feb. 24.
Police say the victim spotted 25-year-old Alex Coniglio staring at him across the bar. When the victim left, police say he was jumped by Coniglio and an accomplice.
The NOPD says when the victim was approached by his attacker, he was told: "I can't deal with people like you because I'm a Marine."
Police confirm the victim was badly beaten while his attackers yelled "homophobic" slurs. He eventually passed out in the 400 block of Esplanade Avenue near Frenchmen Street.
According to the NOPD, Coniglio now faces two criminal charges, including second-degree battery and committing a hate crime.
"We're working for a better city and one that instances like this don't happen," said Brady.
The Forum for Equality says more community awareness and tougher penalties need to be implemented to discourage hate crimes like this from happening in the future.
"In any situation when you hear of a hate crime, you're automatically going to react with disappointment and a little bit of fear. This is something that affects the entire community," added Brady.
The NOPD says it is still investigating this case and that the victim may have known his attacker before the incident.
So far, police haven't released the identity of the second suspect.