Two Whites Charged With Hate Crime, Battery

Two white men have been charged with federal hate crime charges after beating up a Black man while yelling racial slurs. Two 50-year-old men have since been indicted on the charges. The two men had previously been charged under state law for a battery that occurred on another Black man.

In this case, the victim was walking away from a Family Dollar when the men began yelling racial slurs at him. One of the pair ran toward the victim and began hitting him. Police say the victim was struck repeatedly with an ax handle while protecting himself on the ground. One of the men was also charged with resisting arrest. Since the case has been turned over to the federal government, which tends to prosecute hate crimes much more fervently than our State of Florida, it is unlikely the man will face charges for resisting arrest. However, the potential penalty for a hate crime plus an aggravated battery is ten years in federal prison. Even if the men avoid prison time, they will end up on three years of supervised release. It appears unlikely that a judge will consider extenuating circumstances since it appears the men were involved in another attack against a Black victim previously.

What is a hate crime?

According to the Department of Justice, a hate crime is a crime that was committed because of perceived or actual bias. What type of bias qualifies? Any bias that is protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. This includes racial bias, gender bias (including LGBTQ persons), disability bias, religious bias, nationality bias, and more.

Hate crimes are punished more harshly than similar crimes committed for every reason. The rationale behind this is that hate crimes impact more individuals than just the one who was targeted. Because they were targeted due to protected characteristics such as race and religion, the crime impacts not only the victim but also others like them and their whole community.

It is important to understand that you don’t actually have to be gay or Black to be the victim of a hate crime. If the individual who is attacking you perceives you as a protected minority, then the individual is committing a crime based on that perceived hatred. It doesn’t matter if they’re correct or not. So, someone who attacks a gay guy who later turns out to be straight cannot claim that the straightness of the victim precludes a hate crime prosecution.

In this case, the men were yelling racial slurs while beating a Black victim. They can claim the Black victim is lying, did something to provoke them, or they were otherwise acting in self-defense, but once the man is on the ground trying to protect himself from repeated blows, he is no longer a threat to you. A jury is unlikely to buy a self-defense argument in this case.

Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney

The Skier Law Firm, P.A. defends individuals charged with serious crimes in West Palm Beach. Call our West Palm Beach criminal lawyers today to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help.


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