Two white brothers have been charged with a hate crime for beating up a Black man outside a Florida discount store. The new count will be added to other charges related to the altercation the men were arrested for in 2021.
On Tuesday, June 7, a grand jury in Ocala indicted Roy Lashley, a 55-year-old Dunnellon resident, and Robert Lashley, a 52-year-old Brandon resident, on federal hate crime charges after allegedly assaulting a 24-year-old African-American man identified only as D.B. in records, the United States Justice Department reported in a news release.
The news was shared by Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg of the Middle District of Florida.
The officials noted the FBI and the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office investigated the incident and presented their findings to the court.
Trial attorneys Maura White and Matthew Tannenbaum of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert E. Bodnar Jr. for the Middle District of Florida are serving as prosecution, hoping to bring justice to the young man whose civil rights were violated.
On Nov. 17, 2021, the Chronicle Online reports, the Lashleys were arrested on charges of assaulting D.B. in a Family Dollar store parking lot, near the intersection of North Citrus Springs Boulevard and North Deltona Boulevard in Citrus Springs.
They were later charged with assault and battery under state law for the same incident.
Arrest records detail the incident from D.B.’s perspective, stating he was walking away from the store, crossing Deltona Boulevard, and heard voices yelling derogatory and racist epithets at him. Officials assigned to the case say Robert Lashley ran over to the man and started punching him in the face.
As D.B. lay on the ground, Roy Lashley hit him repeatedly with a closed fist and an ax handle.
According to Local 10 news, because the men used racial slurs during the ambush, the jury hit them with the additional hate crime charges, counts that could carry a maximum 10-year prison sentence, three years of mandatory supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.
The indictment, which stated the men “aided and abetted one another, willfully caused bodily injury to the victim, a Black man, because of his actual and perceived race,” sets the stage for both men to stand trial on hate crime charges.
An additional charge was handed to Roy Lashley. When officers arrived on the scene of the altercation, the man became aggressive with the arresting deputies. The confrontation with officers, records reveal, was the grounds for him to receive resisting law enforcement charges. He allegedly kicked the sheriff’s office deputy in the legs while the officer was trying to handcuff him.
Since the indictment, the Assistant State Attorney, Blake Shore, said state prosecutors will need to meet with federal prosecutors to assess if the state needs to continue prosecuting the Lashleys.
Federal court records do not indicate if either man had lawyers representing them.