Florida authorities have charged a local man they say harassed, then picked a fight with an interracial couple at a bar on Mother’s Day.
Warren Stratton, 66, of Oak Hill is charged with a hate crime in the incident, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
Derryan Wood, who is Black, was enjoying drinks at the Tailgatorz Sports Bar & Grill in Edgewater with his wife, who’s white, when Stratton walked up and asked the man if he was from Africa, Orlando’s News 6 reported, citing a police report.
He proceeded to ask whether it was “Africa Day,” and made several racist remarks before saying he was “just looking for a piece of ass,” referring to the victim’s wife, Tiffany Wood.
Then Wood, 39, stood up and ordered Stratton to move along. However, their encounter turned physical when Stratton pushed the man instead.
Despite two bar patrons’ efforts to break them up, the situation escalated when two of Stratton’s relatives — Troy Noe, 52, and John Noe, 22 — joined in and began throwing blows at the victims, according to police.
“There’s a terrible fight and there’s one African-American that’s being beat to a pulp — and no one is here to defend him — by a bunch of rednecks,” a witness said in a 911 call. “I just need someone to come.”
Security footage from the bar showed the victim and his wife were minding their business when Stratton started harassing them, and that his son and nephew jumped in when the dispute turned physical. Police said that once the fight was over, the assailants were heard pelting the victim with racial slurs and making racist remarks about his wife.
When visited by police at his Oak Hill residence last week, Stratton acknowledged asking Wood if he was from Africa “because that’s where they’re all from” but denied any wrongdoing in the incident, News 6 reported. Authorities also wrote in their report that as they approached, Stratton was talking on the phone with someone and sounded as if he “was trying to get his story together for when the police arrived.”
All three suspects were initially charged with hate crimes.
Stratton’s nephew, Troy Noe, 52, is also charged with evidence of prejudice battery, which is punishable to up to five years in jail. Noe’s son, John Noe, 22, faced the same charge before it was reduced to misdemeanor battery on May 17, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal.
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