A college football player has been dismissed from the team and charged by police after attacking a gay couple because he saw them kiss.
Steward Butler, a running back with Marshall University’s football team, is accused of assaulting Casey Williams, 20, and Zackery Johnson, 21, in Huntington, West Virginia after seeing the couple exchange a kiss while they walked back to their hotel room from a local club.
The 23-year-old, who is originally from Lakeland, Fla., is charged with two counts of battery and is being investigated on federal hate crime charges.
Butler approached the victims on April 5 shouting derogatory words before punching each of the men in the face, the police report said.
“He called us faggots, queers, you name it,” Williams said in an interview with BuzzFeed News. “We were trying to ignore him, but he jumped out of the car and came running up to us.”
The victims captured part of the assault on camera and photographed the vehicle, turning the evidence over to police, which helped identify the attacker.
“The type of violent, bigoted behavior reported to have been perpetrated by this student is not tolerated at Marshall University. Period,” university interim President Gary White said in a statement. “This is an extremely serious matter.”
In a tweet on May 6, Marshall Athletic Director Mike Hamrick said, “Coach [Doc] Holliday and I have decided to dismiss Steward Butler from our program in light of additional information regarding his charges.”
Butler was released on $10,000 bond and did not comment to reporters after his release.
Williams said he hopes Butler goes to jail.
“Maybe if justice is served for us, maybe the next person will think about reporting a crime happening to them too,” he said.