A 27-year-old Texas man has been sentenced to six years in prison after punching a 14-year-old boy in his face. The Texas native assaulted the boy because he was Black.
Charles Mitchell “Mitch” Patton pleaded guilty to injury to a child and was sentenced this month in connection with a random attack two years ago.
Authorities say on July 28, 2019, the 14-year-old African-American boy was walking down a street located in his New Boston, Texas, neighborhood, when a black Dodge Ram pickup with three white men drove up and parked to the side of the road.
Patton, the man who was driving the truck, hopped out and started spouting racially offensive comments at the teen and lifted his shirt to show his swastika tattoos across his chest. The boy told police Patton then began swinging at him, missing with the first punch and the second busting the 14-year-old’s lip.
The two other men got out of the vehicle to help “get the suspect away from the juvenile,” the police report says.
The affidavit shares that the boy’s father reported the assault to the authorities and shared that his child had never met the man before the incident.
Patton, by striking the boy, broke Texas Penal Code- PENAL § 22.04 that prohibits causing “injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual.”
Causing injury to a child is punishable by anything from two to 10 years in prison. Because Patton injected race into his assault, a first-degree felony hate crime charge could have doubled his sentencing. Patton could have faced up to five to 99 years of life behind bars. He did not.
He also pleaded to non-related criminal offenses of having marijuana and cellphone in jail.
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