A Michigan man admitted in federal court on Tuesday (March 30) to pummeling a Black teen’s face with a bike chain because of his race.
43-year-old Lee Mouat of Newport faces up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to the racist crime before U.S. District Judge Stephen J. Murphy, III.
The June 6 incident happened at Sterling State Park, where Mouat confronted a group of Black teens, including 18-year-old Devin Freelon Jr. Court records reveal that before Mouat pulled out the weapon, he told Freelon that Blacks weren’t welcome at the beach and that Black lives don’t matter.
Court records and police statements show that around 7:45 p.m. Freelon heard a man yelling a racial slur at two of his friends in the beach parking lot. Then, Mouat started walking toward Freelon, pulled out a bike lock, and struck him in the face with it.
According to the Detroit Free Press, one witness said they heard Mouat say, "I wish someone would say something to me so I can beat them."
In his plea agreement, Mouat admitted that he repeatedly hurled racial slurs at the group while claiming that Black people had no right to use the public beach. He also admitted to attempting to assault another Black teen with the lock, but missing.
“Hate-fueled incidents like this one have no place in a civilized society,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Pamela Karlan said in a statement Tuesday, according to the Free Press.
“The young victim in this case suffered tremendously from this vicious, racially motivated attack," said Acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin for the Eastern District of Michigan. "Every individual citizen has the right to not live in fear of violence or attack based on the color of their skin.”
Mouat is scheduled to be sentenced on June 24. In addition to prison time, he also faces a fine of up to $250,000.
Photo: Monroe County Jail