"This needs to be spoken to because somebody needs to take a stand," he said. "Hate crimes happen every day."

Shaw's mother said she is standing solidly by his side.

"There's a lot of crime in Baltimore City, but I'm just one of the parents who is willing to stand up. I'm just sick and tired," she said. "As long as my son is willing to stand up, I'm going to back my son 100 percent."

Silbert, the police spokesman, said if suspects are identified and arrested in Shaw's beating, police will consult directly with the state's attorney's office to determine the appropriate charges. Whether the attack constituted a hate crime would be decided then.

A determination by a court that a crime was fueled by hate can increase a convicted person's sentence.

Meanwhile, Shaw said he has been overwhelmed by the positive feedback he has gotten from friends and strangers, more than 200 of whom left comments on a photo he posted on his Instagram account of his bruised and swollen face.

"I'm glad I could share my story and people could empathize with the story, because I'm getting a lot of feedback from people who have been through it or who have had family members who have been through it," Shaw said. "I'm glad I could be a spokesman, because a lot of people don't make it through situations like this."

Anyone with information related to Shaw's beating is asked to call Eastern District detectives at 410-396-2433.