A Georgia woman says her boyfriend, 23-year-old Andrew Quade, was brutally beaten last Friday because the couple is interracial.
The attack, which occurred just before midnight in a busy part of downtown Savannah, left Quade with severe facial injuries.
Olufisayo Bakre, Quade's girlfriend, told WOTC that she and Quade were walking through Ellis Square when a trio of black men started making "racial comments" and "blowing kisses" at the couple. According to Bakre, the men then attacked Quade.
"He was basically left for dead," she told WOTC.
The couple said they have felt discriminated against in the past, but nothing had ever risen to the level of a physical altercation.
"I just hope justice prevails at the end of the day. This should not happen in this day and age. I know we're in the South, but it is time for a change," Bakre said.
Reached for comment, a spokesperson for the Savannah police department told The Huffington Post that local authorities had not confirmed the altercation was racially motivated.
"Some of the family members are saying it was a hate crime," the representative said. "But police have not determined that. The investigation is still ongoing."
However, if police do determine the assault was racially motivated, state prosecutors cannot charge the defendants with a hate crime.
Georgia is one of five states that does not have hate crime laws on the books, according to the Human Rights Commission. In 2004, the Georgia Supreme Court threw out the state's hate crime law, calling it "unconstitutionally vague," the Associated Press reported at the time.
Federal authorities could become involved if deemed necessary, as they did in a high-profile case involving a gay bashing incident caught on video in Atlanta.