Lorenzo Molina Ruiz, trumpet player for Latin country-rock band The Mavericks, was reportedly assaulted at a Franklin, Tennessee bar on Sunday after he and his friend Orlando Morales were overheard speaking Spanish in what he is describing as a hate crime. The Tennessean reports that police say the assault occurred at Tony's Eat & Drink in Franklin overnight Saturday, though they did not respond to questions about whether the assault was being investigated as a hate crime.
Suspect photos were released on Tuesday asking for help identifying two men. "The case is currently classified as an aggravated assault, which is a felony," Franklin Police Department public information officer Lt. Charles Warner said. "It has been assigned to a detective, and an investigation is under way."
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Ruiz set up a GoFundMe for Morales and wrote that the two were "brutally attacked at a sports bar because we speak in Spanish." "We didn’t do anything to anybody and got beaten up badly," he added. "My friend is in bad shape. Any support would help while we proceed with getting justice for this hate crime." The page has so far raised over $21,000.
Betty Malo, wife of Mavericks leader Raul Malo, posted about the incident on Instagram, writing that Ruiz and Morales were "were jumped and brutally beaten while waiting in line to use the bathroom." She also alleged that two of their friends who were waiting at a table "were approached by 2 men and said "Speak F—ing English. You’re in America.'"
Malo added that "The bar TONY’S EAT AND DRINK located in Cool Springs, Tennessee did nothing about it. They actually kicked Lorenzo out and his friend," she wrote alongside multiple photos of Ruiz. "They begged for help or at least for the bar to call the police but the bouncers refused and threaten to beat their asses if they didn’t leave."
"Lorenzo is fine but his friend Orlando is horrifically hurt," she continued. "He has a broken nose, orbital bones, internal bleeding, and concussion. They filed a police report but it still has not been posted on line. We retained an attorney and will proceed forward trying to hold the group of racist individuals accountable! Tony’s Eat and Drink are complicit too. Shame on you."
The Mavericks are Grammy-winning, Nashville-based group who combine country, Americana and Latin styles to create their own unique sound. In August, they released their latest album, En Español.