A repeat hate crime offender has been sentenced for attacking a Black man with a knife in Santa Cruz, California.
According to CNN, the Justice Department on Friday (December 3) announced that Ole Hougen, 45, will serve almost seven years in federal prison. Hougen, who was convicted for the unprovoked attack in April, reportedly confronted a 29-year-old Black man with racial slurs and slashed him up to 20 times in the head and chest with a nine-inch knife while he was trying to cross a street.
Prosecutors say Hougen was on probation at the time of the attack that occurred in September 2020, the news outlet reports. He pleaded no contest to state charges that stemmed from a 2018 attack that involved a different Black man. This is Hougen’s fourth known racially motivated attack against African American men within the last seven years.
Hougen’s sentencing comes after the surfacing of a recent FBI report that reveals hate crimes have surged to the highest level in 12 years in the U.S. It also comes after researchers with the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) released Bias Incidents and Actors Study (PDF), an examination of hate crime perpetrators, including information from 1990 to 2018 in the U.S.
In the study, hate crime attacks against Black people have remained at over 40 percent and lists common traits among nearly 1000 individuals charged and indicted for hate crime offenses. It also found that over 18 percent of subjects analyzed were charged with, or convicted of, multiple hate crime offenses.