Police: Marines beat gay man in Savannah

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READ MORE | Outrage surfaces after gay beating in Savannah

imageTwo Marines were jailed and later released on misdemeanor battery charges early Saturday in Savannah after they allegedly beat a gay man they say winked at them.

The men — identified as 22-year-old Keil Joseph Cronauer (top photo) and 23-year-old Christopher Charles Stanzel (bottom photo) — were arrested minutes after the attack that left 26-year-old Kieran Daly unconscious with bruises to his brain, according to the Savannah Morning News.

The incident comes just three weeks after about 400 people rallied in support of LGBT rights at City Hall in the coastal city.

imageA Savannah police officer noticed Cronauer and Stanzel running on a downtown street about 3:45 a.m. on Saturday. Moments later, the officer received a call about a man nearby who was lying unconscious, according to the paper.

When the officer arrived, he found Daly being treated by friends and quickly caught up with Cronauer and Stanzel. Both men are stationed at Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, S.C., which is about 40 miles north of Savannah.

Cronauer and Stanzel told police they were being harassed by a gay man and wanted to get away from him. But witnesses painted a different picture, according to the report.

They told police before the men were seen dashing away from Johnson Square, one of them grew angry because they thought Daly was winking at them and struck Daly in the back of the head with his fist, knocking him unconscious.

Saturday night, from his bed at Memorial University Medical Center, Daly insisted he tried to convince the Marines he was not winking at them.

“The guy thought I was winking at him,” Daly said. “I told him, ‘I was squinting, man. … I’m tired.’”

Daly said one of the men told him he demanded respect because he served in Iraq. And at least one hurled slurs at him as he tried to walk away.

“That’s the last thing I remember is walking away,” Daly said. “I remember the feeling of getting hit, but I only kind of remember it.”

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