A Michigan man has been arrested and charged after police say a fit of road rage resulted in him stabbing a Black man.
Police say the suspect not only pulled a knife out on his victim but slashed the man’s tires and called him a racial slur.
Farmington Hills’ Alexander Gojcevic has been charged with ethnic intimidation, felonious assault, and malicious destruction of property for the recent violent roadway exchange, according to the Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office.
Related: ‘Fueled By Hate and Anger’: Massachusetts Man Who Shouted Racial Slurs Before Running Over, Killing Black Man In Road Rage Guilty of Murder
The charges, which were announced on Tuesday, May 16, hold a penalty of up to seven years in prison and a little under $10,000 in fines.
Police in the Detroit suburb of Southfield were called after Gojcevic and the 62-year-old got into a squabble while driving on a highway on Sunday, May 14. The suspect altered his course and followed his victim, the complaint says.
As the conflict escalated, it is alleged Gojcevic hurled racial slurs at the man and the two men came to blows, local station Fox 2 reports.
Gojcevic then returned to his car to retrieve a weapon, and with a knife in hand, the 25-year-old stabbed his victim before slashing his tires, according to police.
It was reported that during the incident the victim, a concealed pistol licensed holder, raised his firearm but did not shoot. An eyewitness to the altercation also pulled a gun out but did not fire it. The victim was not seriously injured.
“We’ve seen a concerning increase in the number of racial and ethnic intimidation cases lately, and I want our community members to know that behavior will not be tolerated in Oakland County,” Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said.
“All residents deserve to feel safe in their homes, in public, and on our roads,” the prosecutor added. “Maliciously attacking another driver while yelling racial slurs is unacceptable and my office intends to hold this defendant, and anyone else who commits hate crimes, accountable.”
According to the 2021 Crime in Michigan Annual Report, there were 610 incidents of hate/bias crimes perpetrated against 769 people in Michigan. While race was the highest motivation to commit hate crimes, anti-Black crimes led the list with 269 people listed as victims.
More than 22 percent of all hate crimes committed in 2021 happened on a highway, road, alley, street, or sidewalk.
Oakland County is a predominantly white community north of Detroit with a Black population of about 13.3 percent, U.S. Census Data shows.
McDonald has set up a special Hate Crimes Unit within Oakland County’s Special Victims Unit to deal with the rise in the county.
“We’re at a moment in this country where we’re either going to allow that kind of hate to prevail, or we’re going to have to make serious efforts to combat it,” McDonald said. “We have to call it out, we have to investigate it, and we have to prosecute those crimes.”
After standing before the 46th District Court for his arraignment, Gojcevic was given a $25,000 cash surety bond.
He is scheduled to appear in a probable cause conference in two weeks on May 31.