43-year-old Lee Mouat admitted to willfully causing bodily injury to a Black teenager due to his race.
Disclaimer: This story contains graphic details of violence that readers may find disturbing
On Tuesday, a Michigan man pleaded guilty to beating up a Black teenager after revealing that he attacked the teen solely because of the color of his skin. In a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice, it was revealed that 43-year-old Lee Mouat admitted to willfully causing bodily injury to a Black teenager due to his race. The accused entered his plea before the U.S. District Judge Stephen J. Murphy, III, according to USA Today. The deplorable hate crime took place in June last year at Sterling State Park in Monroe, when Mouat, a White man, confronted a group of Black teen boys.
A white Michigan man who pleaded guilty to beating a Black teen with a metal bike lock said he attacked the teen because of his race, court documents show. https://t.co/GU9EhfE2ja— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 4, 2021
The victim, who was identified as 18-year-old Devin Freelon Jr., was also present at the time. Mouat reportedly used racial slurs and made comments about the group's "ghetto" music, complaining about how loud it was. He told Freelon that Blacks did not have any right to use the public beach and that Black lives don't matter. According to court records, he then went towards his vehicle, retrieved a "metal chain-style bike lock" and went back to the three boys. "Mouat then swung and struck D.F. in the face with the bike lock, knocking out three of D.F.’s teeth, lacerating D.F.’s face and mouth, and fracturing his jaw," read the plea agreement according to NBC News.
it should be 20 years...— barbara isaac nosker ℹ️ (@bnme13isaac) April 1, 2021
"Mouat also swung the bike lock at a second Black teenager, T.G., but missed. Mouat continued to wield the bike lock and walk toward T.G. while saying, 'Come here, n-----," he said. The court document says that the man attacked the teens "because of D.F.’s and T.G.’s race" at around 7:45 p.m on June 6. It continued, "That is, Mouat willfully caused bodily injury to D.F., and attempted to cause bodily injury to T.G., because they are Black." Per a criminal complaint, Freelon told an FBI agent that his friends and he were at the park when they heard Mouat directing racial slurs at them.
Apparently, the teen went to his car to get a portable speaker and on returning to the area where his friends were standing, Mout began walking towards him swinging an object that hit him in the face. Following the attack, Monroe County Sheriffs Office deputies arrived at the location and rushed Freelon to the hospital to be treated for lacerations and a fracture that he suffered to his face, in addition to losing several teeth.
I want to vomit. A brutal attack, a hate crime against a teenager...— Dracula's Spatula (@draculasspatula) April 2, 2021
10 years for the criminal.
A lifetime of trauma for the victim.
Speaking to NBC affiliate WDIV-TV Freelon's father, Devin Freelon Sr. said that his now 19-year-old son required to undergo dental procedures. "It’s definitely been hard seeing your son every day with missing teeth and only 19 years. Nobody should go through that," he told the news outlet. Minutes before the senseless attack multiple witnesses at the park revealed that they heard Maiuat using racial slurs before threatening that he would harm the teens. Per one of the witnesses, the accused said he wished "someone would say something to me so I can beat them."
Mouat was taken into custody and indicted in February for not only causing wilful bodily injury to the victim due to his race but also attempting to cause bodily harm to the second charge. Now he faces 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted. His sentencing is due on June 24. His actions were condemned by many, including Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela Karlan. "Hate-fueled incidents like this one have no place in a civilized society. The Justice Department is committed to using all the tools in our law enforcement arsenal to prosecute violent acts motivated by hate," said Karlan in a statement.
Imagine a grown man feeling so envious of a kid just starting his life as a young adult that his only thought is to harm, and possibly disfigure him. A lot of the hate stems from nothing but pure envy. Period.— SALSOL Musically (@saso_lyrics100) April 2, 2021
"Mouat’s hateful and violent conduct, motivated by racial intolerance, was intended to physically harm the victim as well as create fear within the African-American community," shared Special Agent in Charge Timothy Waters of the FBI’s Detroit Division, according to NY Daily News. "The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to ensure that if a crime is motivated by bias, it will be investigated as a hate crime and the perpetrators will be held responsible for their actions. We encourage anyone who has been the victim of or witness to such a crime to report it to the FBI." Acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin added, "The young victim in this case suffered tremendously from this vicious, racially motivated assault. Every individual citizen has the right to not live in fear of violence or attack based on the color of their skin."