Miami Beach Community Leaders Gather to Discuss Hate Crimes

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Days after a man claims he was the victim of a hate crime on Miami Beach, community leaders are coming together to reassure residents and tourists that they are safe.

The chief of police and a representative of the state attorney’s office are expected to attend Tuesday evening’s meeting while investigators are still looking into the alleged attack.

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The meeting comes after Kenneth Wilcox says he was attacked and beaten up last Friday while walking with his dog in the area of 14th Street and Meridian Avenue. He told police it was a hate crime.

“[They] were using all sorts of slurs, said ‘we’re here to make sure you all f—ing die, and today is your turn to die,'” Wilcox said. “The main injuries are lacerations to my head, this one went really deep. Just a lot of kicks and punches to my body which are now bruising and uncomfortable.”

Detectives are investigating Wilcox’s story and are looking for video to confirm what happened or hoping witnesses come forward.

“We unfortunately can’t prevent all crime, but we rely on the public to immediately report all instances of crime so that we can effectively investigate that,” Miami Beach police officer Ernesto Rodriguez said.

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As a result of the alleged attack, the community called for a meeting with police to address hate crimes against the LGBT community on Miami Beach.

“After the event that occurred on Friday evening, the alleged event, we received some community concerns so we more than willingly decided to host this meeting to reassure the community of their safety,” Rodriguez said.

On Memorial Day weekend the beach will host three big events, including the World Out Games, Urban Beach Party and an air show. Police say they are prepared to handle the challenges and that safety is their No. 1 priority.

“We hope tonight’s meeting is great dialogue between the community and our officers to reassure them that Miami Beach is a very safe place to be,” Rodriguez said.