The fallout from the defense of four anti-LGBTQ hate crime suspects continues in South Florida, where the director of the queer rights group SAVE just lost his job.
Tony Lima served as Executive Director of SAVE for six years. At a special Champions of Equality Gala on June 14, he publicly recognized Luis Alonso, Juan Lopez, Adonis Diaz, and Pablo Romo for their contribution to the organization, deeming them “wrongfully accused.”
The four men had volunteered with SAVE after arrests for aggravated assault and a hate crime after video caught the four attacking three men at Miami Beach Pride in 2018.
Last week, Lima released a video apologizing for his recognition of the four suspects, though he denied ever labeling them “wrongfully accused,” even though a reporter for the Miami Herald, as well as several others in attendance at the gala, dispute his claim, saying he definitely said those words.
Lima’s video apology has since disappeared from the internet and SAVE has announced Lima’s termination.
“We deeply regret the damage this has caused the LGBTQ+ community in South Florida,” SAVE said in a statement this week, “particularly during a time when the country was reflecting on the riots at Stonewall as well as the many other hardships and abuses that our community continues to endure.”
“These actions have been incredibly upsetting to the community and most of all, hurtful to the victims of this terrible crime.”
Meanwhile, Lima also issued another apology via the Miami Herald, saying, “I made one mistake in my tenure of six years as the leader of SAVE and I’ve paid dearly for it.”
“Again, I apologize to the victims and to those in the community that were hurt by this. Hurting anyone was never my intention.”