A Central Florida man is facing hate crime charges for attacking a family of four simply because they were black. 21-year-old Nicholas Gordon will face enhanced hate crime charges alongside aggravated assault with a firearm, child abuse, and illegally carrying a concealed weapon. The victims with two children under 12 told police that a vehicle carrying four men rolled up on them, and a man got out of the back seat holding a gun, and making racist death threats. The victims drove away from the scene and reported the incident to police. The four men were driving in a yellow Chevy Spark, the least intimidating vehicle you can think of. Nonetheless, it’s easily trackable and was picked up speeding away from the incident.
After the traffic stop, the defendant initially said he had no weapons in the car, but later admitted that he had a gun. He also denied the incident occurred until he was shown surveillance video. Gordon then claimed that the driver of the vehicle “brake-checked” him or backed into his vehicle before driving away. Investigators found no damage to either car. When asked why he exited the vehicle with a loaded handgun, he told police that he knew that black people could be violent. Gordon later admitted that the family had done nothing to make him feel threatened.
This is why you need a lawyer
There’s no world in which anyone deserves to get away with frightening a family with a gun just because they hate their race, but this defendant essentially destroyed his entire case in the process of talking to the police. While the defendant was content to consistently lie about every allegation the police made, he eventually spilled the beans and took away his only possible defense.
Had someone in the vehicle threatened him or done anything to make the defendant feel fear, he may have been justified in brandishing a weapon. At least that defense would have still been available to him. However, Gordon admitted under questioning that the family had done nothing wrong. Essentially, the defendant placed himself in a perfect position to be found guilty on hate crime charges.
Hate crime allegations work as amplifiers to other charges. The prosecution must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your actions were motivated due to implicit bias against a protected class of people. This includes people of different races, ethnicities, homelands, genders, sexual orientations, gender expression, or disabilities. In cases where the prosecution can prove your actions were motivated by hate, like the aforementioned situation, it can cause every crime you’re charged with to tick up one notch on the severity chain.
In this case, the defendant fed them every piece of information they needed to prove every element of assault with a hate crime intensifier.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
Defendants should not help police officers make cases against them. This is why. Call the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at The Skier Law Firm, P.A. today to get out in front of the charges.