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Denver Man Says He Was Victim Of Hate Crime

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DENVER (CBS4) – Police in Denver are investigating an assault incident over the holiday weekend that may have been a hate crime.

Jared Olson told CBS4 he was beaten up for being gay.

It will be up to the district attorney to decide if the suspect in the case, who has not been captured, will face hate crime charges.

Olson says he’s been called names before, but never endured pain like this.

Jared Olson, right, and Joseph Montano, center, talk with CBS4 (credit: CBS)

Jared Olson, right, and Joseph Montano, center, talk with CBS4 (credit: CBS)

“I think it’s pretty disgusting. I can’t talk right. I can’t breathe. My face hurts,” Olson said.

Olson’s face tells the story of what happened at 2 a.m. on Monday — a broken nose, fractured face and missing teeth.

“I don’t have a doubt in my mind they had a problem with us being gay,” Olson said.

Olson says he and a friend were leaving Sam’s Hookah Lounge on Alameda when a group of people starting yelling gay slurs at them in the parking lot. Olson claims one man got particularly aggressive.

“He kept asking ‘What are you looking at?’ and he walked to my door, pulled my door open, and hit me in the face,” Olson said. “My clothes when I went to the hospital were covered in blood.”

Joseph Montano has been working to comfort his friend and also believes this was a hate crime.

“I’m gay myself so I can’t imagine what my friend must be going through right now,” Montano said. “Just because someone else is different, looks different, or acts a certain way there’s no reason to have to hit them.”

Olson wants surgery to take away the painful reminder.

“I just hope the person who did this to us is caught and brought to justice over it. Mainly I want the message to get out there, this isn’t okay,” Olson said.

Sam’s Hookah Lounge posted an apology on Olson’s Facebook page and also wrote that they want to help police track down the suspect.

- Written by Heather Burke for CBSDenver.com

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