MIAMI (WSVN) - A South Florida man said he was the victim of a hate crime when, he claims, a neighbor who had hurled homophobic slurs at him became physically violent.
Camilo Gutierrez claims the assailant left him with scars and bruises on his neck, Saturday.
“He comes up to me out of nowhere and just strangles me, lifts me up off the ground,” he said.
The tail end of the violent encounter in Miami was captured on cellphone video and eventually ended with 40-year-old Jonathan Watts arrested for battery.
“Targeting me for being gay,” Gutierrez said. “That’s the reason why.”
Gutierrez said he’s been at the receiving end of homophobic slurs for weeks from Watts, his downstairs neighbor.
He said Saturday was the first time things became violent.
“I think it’s honestly crazy that we’re in 2021, and things like this are still going on,” he said.
It started nearly a month ago when Gutierrez and his friends were making a video in the courtyard of his apartment complex.
Watts then chimed in.
“Sometimes I beat gay people,” he said in the video.
Gutierrez said Watts started to threaten them after they told him to mind his own business.
“Say it again,” he said to the group.
Then he got confrontational.
“You just choked me. Choke me again,” Gutierrez told Watts in the video.
Gutierrez said he complained to the community’s homeowners association after those threats. One month later, Watts attacked him.
“Don’t complain about me or my dog again,” Watts said to Gutierrez.
Gutierrez was left bruised and beaten. Now he’s fearful about what’s going to happen next.
“I definitely am so scared that he’s gonna come back and possibly kill me,” he said. “I got him arrested, and I know he’s gonna get out and be extremely furious.”
Gutierrez is hoping that the neighbor gets evicted after his arrest.
Watts is out on bond, and he is expected to appear before a judge later this week.
He has only been charged with misdemeanor battery, but police said they are still investigating an open hate crime case.
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