Police investigating a homophobic and transphobic hate crime have launched an appeal to identify a group of youths who threw punches and bottles at three teens before robbing them.
On 16 May in Liverpool, England, three young people were attacked outside a discount store, Merseyside Police said in a statement.
The victims were reportedly punched, had a plastic bottle lobbed at them and one of them had their mobile phone swiped by the larger group at the One Below on Roe Street.
Authorities said that the gang hurled “homophobic and transphobic” slurs against the victims.
Two of the victims suffered minor injuries during the clash which took place at around 5:30pm that day, the police said.
Detectives released surveillance camera footage of “people they would like to speak to about the incident” on Tuesday (27 July).
A 15-year-old girl from Seaford had been arrested on suspicion of assault and robbery earlier by the force following CCTV enquiries. She was initially bailed and remains under investigation pending further enquiries.
Police pillory ‘despicable’ anti-LGBT+ hate crime that has swept Liverpool
The 16 May attack is the latest in a surge of violence against LGBT+ Liverpudlians that has stoked fear, anxiety and anger in the northwest city.
From a gay Catholic priest left “petrified” after teens called him a “faggot” to the near relentless pattern of queer people left battered, bloodied and bruised, anti-LGBT+ brutality has ripped through Liverpool in recent months.
Officials saying that the attacks are in no way “linked” has done little to soothe the fears held by activists who locked arms last month to protest in a defiant display of solidarity.
Hundreds marched through Liverpool city centre, “Whose lives matter? Queer lives matter,” they chanted.
“Be angry, be here, be queer. We will not live in fear.”
After the latest incident, officials sought to stress that police presence has been dialled up to combat hate crime.
“It is completely and utterly despicable to think that people could be the target of verbal and physical abuse simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said detective chief inspector Paul Speight in the statement.
“Alongside our partners at LCR Pride and the Michael Causer Foundation, Merseyside Police stands against hate crime perpetrated against LGBT+ people, and we will not tolerate people being targeted in this way.
“We have stepped up patrols and introduced a mobile police station in Liverpool city centre to tackle such hate crimes and to listen to concerns, and will continue to do everything in our power to protect LGBT+ people from harm and ensure those who commit acts of hatred towards them are brought to justice.
“I am appealing to anyone featured in these images or anyone who recognises them to come forward. We believe they could hold information that could prove vital to our continuing enquiries into this incident.
“You can come forward directly or anonymously via Crimestoppers – however, you choose to let us know, please come forward.”
Witnesses can also contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously, on 0800 555 111 or via its online form at: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/give-information/give-information