A decorated marine veteran says he was brutally attacked while eating at a fast food restaurant last Friday.
"They saw me and crowded around my table, and they started asking me if I believed black lives matter", Marquez told the Post.
The D.C. Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the aggravated assault and robbery case near Chinatown and offering $1,000 to anyone with information leading to the arrest of three suspects, including the male who punched Marquez, a woman who appeared to rob him, and another man who kicked him while he was on the ground.
"We're there to protect our country so that people ... don't have to be scared of getting killed or being attacked", he said. One of the suspects allegedly hit Marquez with a gun after calling him a racist, the report says.
"I just want them to get caught ... especially if they're doing this to other people", Marquez said. He was also robbed and his credit cards were used to purchase items at a variety of stores and restaurant locations in the city.
What happened next is blurry, according to Marquez, but he was told by the McDonald's manager that the pack of teens followed him outside and jumped him. "Like all Marines, I fought for the freedom of all Americans and not just one particular group".
While Marquez was eating, a group of teenagers surrounded him, asked him if he thought black lives mattered, and accused him of being a racist. A picture taken of them pulling Sgt Maj Brad Kasal out of battle served as the inspiration for a famous war memorial of Iraq located in California, reports The Los Angeles Times.
"I believe this was a hate crime and I was targeted because of my skin color".
Marquez was taken to George Washington Hospital where he was evaluated for several hours and treated for head trauma and an eye contusion.
The two statues known as the "No Man Left Behind" monuments, depict the scene where he and another Marine carried a wounded sergeant out of a firefight in Fallujah.
Marquez, who served eight years on active duty between 2003 and 2011, deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.