A white Michigan man accused of hitting a Black teen in the face with a bike lock is now facing a federal hate crime charge.
The altercation occurred June 6 at Sterling State Park, south of Detroit, where Lee James Mouat hurled racial slurs at 18-year-old Devin Freelon and his friends and told them they “don’t belong on this beach,” according to an affidavit filed in court in U.S. District Court on Oct. 13 in support of the complaint.
According to Freelon, Mouat yelled “N—don’t belong on this beach,” then walked “quickly towards him” and struck him in the face with a “chain bike-lock” after catching up with the teen as he was retrieving something from a car trunk.
A local hospital treated Freelon, who suffered a facial fracture, lacerations, and lost several teeth, according to the affidavit.
Witnesses said they overheard Mouat use the N-word on several occasions while complaining about the group’s loud music, saying, “I’ll bash their heads in if they don’t turn [their music] down,” said the affidavit.
One of the Freelon’s friends said that Mouat yelled at them twice, and said, “This is my beach.” He referred to them by a racial slur each time, the friend said. He also recalled Mouat telling the group that “I’ve got something for you in my car,” before he assaulted the victim with the bike lock.
According to one witness Mouat also called them “monsters,” and said, “I want to hit them with this cooler” and “I wish someone would say something to me so I can beat them.”
An additional witness observed Mouat yelling “Black lives don’t matter,” prior to attacking the victim.
Mouat is charged with one count of willfully causing bodily injury to the victim because of his race, according to a criminal complaint filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.
After his arrest in June, Mouat was charged in state court with assault with intent to do great bodily harm, felonious assault, and ethnic intimidation in connection with the attack, according to Monroe News.
If Mouat is convicted of the hate crime charge, he could serve a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, federal prosecutors said.
More than $18,000 was raised on A GoFundMe page for Freelon to help with his medical bills, however, a local dentist office then volunteered to offer their services for free.