CLEVELAND -- A man walking to a bar on Cleveland's west side overnight Sunday was attacked in what police are calling a hate crime.
Jared Fox says he was walking from his car toward Cocktails bar, a well-known gay bar, on West 93rd Street and Detroit Avenue just before midnight Saturday.
Fox says a group of 20 young men surrounded him on the sidewalk, using gay slurs.
"They didn't know if I had money. They didn't know anything about me," said Fox. "They saw that there was a gay bar at the corner and they saw me walking to it."
Then the group attacked Fox, punching him in the face repeatedly and knocking him to the ground.
"They said what's in your pockets and I said, I got no money I'm broke, and they said, 'oh so you're one of those broke [slur]?' And then they just started swinging," said Fox.
He suffered a black eye, a ruptured right ear drum and some hearing loss, as well as dozens of bruises across his body.
The suspects stole his cell phone before he could get help inside the bar.
Cleveland Police say an original call for help was made at 11:53 p.m.when a group of young men attempted to assault another man in the area of West91st Street and Detroit Avenue.
Cleveland Police Sgt. Sammy Morris says, as officers were responding, three additional calls came in about men disturbing the bar and then the assault against Fox.
Police arrived at 12:07 a.m.
Police say they searched the area for suspects, but did not find anyone. They're still investigating.
"This is not new in the city of Cleveland, many cities experience this and it needs to stop," said Phyllis Harris, the executive director of The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland.
With the Gay Games coming next summer, activists in the LCBT community are already preparing Cleveland to be more gay friendly.
"Enough is enough. Let's call it out. Let's call a spade a spade. Let's do this," said Cocktails bar manager James Foster, who says that bar patrons experience some form of hate several times each month.
"We want to be a city that folks will be proud of - I don't care if you're straight, gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender, whatever," said Harris.
The LGBT Community Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. each weekday this week to help support members of the community who have questions or need resources following this incident. You can find more by clicking here.
Anyone with information about the suspects is asked to call First District Detectives at 216-623-5118. Anonymous information can be given to Crime Stoppers by calling 216-252-7463 or texting TIP657 plus your message to CRIMES (274637).
Fox, 26, who lives in New York City, was visiting his family in Cleveland.
Fox says he wants the young men who beat him to face justice, but also education.He wants to see this conversation keep going about how to make communities safer.
He was already scheduled to compete in a Spartan Race next Sunday to raise money for theGay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network to help encourage acceptance in schools. You can find out more or make a donation by clicking here.