NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) – Police are searching for a suspect in an assault on two men at a Newport Beach restaurant earlier this month, which the victims allege was motivated by anti-gay sentiment.
The two victims told Newport Beach police they were physically assaulted and called gay slurs at the Balboa Inn’s Sienna Restaurant, located at 105 Main St., at around 8 p.m. on April 13.
“I’m seeing Colton, like, getting hit through the doorway, and I’m just like, ‘What the hell is going on? Why is he doing this?'” said Angel Bonilla, holding back tears.
He was the one who recorded his friend Colton Moyer being aggressively thrown out of the restaurant.
“Heading towards the door in his arms — it was the most terrifying thing I’ve probably ever been through,” Moyer told CBS2.
Bonilla said he was up next.
“I mean, he looked at me, ‘You’re next! It felt like he was gonna kill me,” said Bonilla. “He was gonna do something, and he was mad at me. I had never seen this person, I hadn’t interacted with him, I hadn’t done anything to him.”
A portion of the incident was caught on cell phone video, which was obtained by the Orange County Register.
One video shows a suspect violently grabbing the victim off a stool and dragging him to the front door. The second video shows the suspect throwing the patron to the ground outside the restaurant and sternly yelling, “you’ve been warned.”
It’s unclear if the suspect works at the establishment.
The Register reports that the victims filed a lawsuit against the Balboa Inn this week in Orange County Superior Court.
Prior to being thrown out, the suit states, a female bartender refused to serve the victims, claimed the identification card of Bonilla’s partner Clement Serafin was fake, and then called them a gay slur and asked them to leave.
Newport Beach police Thursday released a surveillance photo of the suspect believed to have committed the assaults. He is described as white, 40 to 55 years of age, 6 feet tall and 200 pounds with gray hair. He was wearing shorts and white t-shirt at the time of the battery.
The victims’ attorney Jim Bohm is seeking $3 million in damages.
“Angel and Colton both ended up in the hospital,” Bohm told CBS2. “They both have lost work. They’re both in extreme pain, and that’s nothing compared to the emotional injuries they’re experiencing.”
The Balboa Inn’s attorney Jerry Kaplan issued a statement reading, “Rest assured, this establishment does not condone discrimination against anyone and as a matter of fact this hotel has hosted gay weddings in the past and is completely against any type of discrimination whether [it’s] religious, cultural, sexual or racial.”
Anyone with information on his identity is asked to call police at 949-644-3790.
Warning: The video below may be disturbing to some viewers.