Alexander Gomez-Jimenez of Pembroke Pines, Florida was arrested Sunday after he was accused of insulting and assaulting two men and their pet dog, news sources report. Gomez-Jimenez, 30, was booked into the Broward County Main Jail on one count of animal cruelty and two counts of battery; the battery charges were classified in court as hate crimes. A judge ordered that Gomez-Jimenez be held without bail bond. The press did not say whether Gomez-Jimenez had hired a defense attorney.
Since 1999, Gomez-Jimenez has been arrested over 20 times, sources say. This year, Gomez-Jimenez purportedly pled no contest to a charge of public brawling; a judge sentenced him to probation for six months. During the summer, Gomez-Jimenez was arrested three times for allegedly trespassing at the Pembroke Lakes Mall; trial for those charges are still pending. No details of the cases are currently available. Gomez-Jimenez does not appear to have committed any hate crimes in the past.
This latest incident occurred late Sunday in the 2200 block of Buttonwood Avenue in Pembroke Pines. Reports say Gomez-Jimenez confronted two men of Cuban descent who were walking a boxer. “You said ‘You stupid Cubans, I hate Cubans.’ [And] at that point, you kicked the dog, causing it to yelp in pain,” a Broward County judge reportedly said during Gomez-Jimenez’s hearing.
Sources say Gomez-Jimenez proceeded to lash out at the two victims, throwing punches and kicks, some of which struck the victims’ faces. The victims were able to fend off the attack and flee the scene to get help. Based on reports, the two victims sustained minor injuries to their faces; it is not clear whether they required medical attention for their injuries. The dog was not hurt in a significant way, sources say.
During his court hearing, Gomez-Jimenez reportedly said he was “brutally” attacked by the two victims. He claimed that he would never instigate a fight because he had had four surgeries on his in the past. “Your honor, I am handicapped,” he reportedly told the judge. “If I break this arm, I will be a paraplegic, your honor. I wouldn’t step into a situation where I would fight two Cubans and their boxer dog.”
Given the nature of the incident, the judge classified the two battery charges as hate crimes, reports indicate. Because Gomez-Jimenez was on probation at the time of the alleged assaults, the judge ordered that he be held without bail. “It looks like every time you get out of jail, you end up coming back,” the judge reportedly said.
Hate crimes, which are crimes carried out on the basis of race, carry stiffer penalties than other crimes. A hate crime charge is only applied if there is evidence that an attack was racially charged. Typically, hate crimes involve things such as assault, rape, murder, intimidation, and vandalism, the FBI says. According to statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there were 6,222 hate crimes committed in the U.S. in 2011. Of those hate crimes, there were 7,254 hate crime offenses.