Two men arrested in connection with the beating of a lesbian and a trans woman in Miami

Two men have been arrested and charged with hate crimes in connection with the brutal beating of two LGBTQ women in Miami that was caught on camera in November.

Jorge Giovani Estevez, 33, was arrested Wednesday and charged with one count of battery with prejudice, according to arrest records shared by the Miami Police Department. Daiken Fernandez, 25, was arrested the same day and charged with two counts of felony battery with prejudice, the records show. 

Efforts to reach Estevez and Fernandez on Tuesday were unsuccessful, and their defense attorneys have not yet been announced.

The incident took place Nov. 26 in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood, which is known worldwide for its art galleries and colorful street murals. In video footage obtained last month by NBC South Florida, two men can be seen attacking the two women and their male friend, who reportedly tried to intervene.

“This group of guys, basically, they just started screaming stuff at us, anti-lesbian comments … and he used a profanity word,” one of the victims, who asked that her name not be published because of fears of retaliation from her attackers, told NBC South Florida in a video interview last month.

She added that she was punched in the face three times and that her injuries may require surgery.

The beatings caused the other woman — who also asked that her name not be published for the same reason as her friend — to fall, strike her head and lose consciousness, she said.

“I definitely felt targeted for sure; I mean they were definitely trying to hate on the fact that we were gay,” she told NBC South Florida. “I don’t understand to this day why.”

Miami Police Chief Manuel A. Morales told NBC South Florida that such encounters are rare in the city and will not be tolerated.

“We need to respect one another and respect the rights of our fellow citizens to actually live life in a safe and happy way,” he said.

Estevez was released on a $5,000 bond and Fernandez was released on a $7,500 bond, according to a spokesperson for Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez. The men are set to be arraigned Jan. 26, the spokesperson added.

If convicted, the pair could face up to 15 year prison sentences for each of the felony counts against them, according to NBC South Florida.