Last fall, a white Michigan man was arrested after he allegedly approached a group of three Black teenagers at a state park, spewed racial epithets and struck one of the teenagers in the face with a bike lock.
According to the United States Department of Justice, Lee Mouat, 43, of Newport, pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime for attacking a Black teenager. He willfully caused bodily injury to a Black teenager because of the child’s race.
“Hate-fueled incidents like this one have no place in a civilized society,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela Karlan for the Civil Rights Division in a written statement. “The Justice Department is committed to using all the tools in our law enforcement arsenal to prosecute violent acts motivated by hate.”
Based on the plea agreement, Mouat approached a group of Black teenagers at a state park in Monroe. Mouat repeatedly used racial slurs and stated Black people had no right to use the public beach. Mouat then proceeded to strike one of the teens in the face with a bike lock, which resulted in knocking out several of the victim’s teeth, lacerating his face and mouth and fracturing his jaw. Mouat then made an attempt to hit another one of the Black teenagers with the bike lock.
“Our office is committed to protecting the rights of all citizens, and prosecuting hate crimes is a top priority,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin for the Eastern District of Michigan. “The young victim, in this case, suffered tremendously from this vicious, racially motivated assault. Every individual citizen has the right to not live in fear of violence or attack based on the color of their skin.”
“Mouat’s hateful and violent conduct, motivated by racial intolerance, was intended to physically harm the victim as well as create fear within the African-American community,” said Special Agent in Charge Timothy Waters of the FBI’s Detroit Division. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to ensure that if a crime is motivated by bias, it will be investigated as a hate crime and the perpetrators will be held responsible for their actions. We encourage anyone who has been the victim of or witness to such a crime to report it to the FBI.”
A hearing has been scheduled for June 24, 2021, where Mouat will be sentenced. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.