A judge sentenced a Michigan man to five years in prison on Thursday for striking a Black teen with a bike lock last summer.
According to ABC News, 43-year-old Lee Mouat was also sentenced to three years supervised release by a U.S. District Court judge in Detroit. Mouat pleaded guilty in March to committing a federal hate crime after being charged for striking 18-year-old Devin Freelon Jr., on June 6, 2020. Freelon and several other Black teens were at Sterling State Park beach in Monroe County’s Frenchtown Township when Mouat confronted them.
“The cowardly and unprovoked attack on this young victim is terribly disturbing,” Acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin said in a statement. “Every individual citizen has the right to not live in fear of violence or attack based on the color of their skin.”
Mouat made a comment about the teens’ “ghetto” music and began shouting “Black lives don’t matter,” and calling them niggers, according to NBC News. Mouat then told them Black people didn’t have a right to use the beach, before going to his car, and grabbing the metal bike lock he used to strike Freelon in the face. Mouat also attempted to hit one of the other teens right after. Witnesses at the time told park authorities they had heard Mouat using racial slurs before the attack, with one witness adding they heard him say he wished “someone would say something to me so I can beat them.”
The altercation began after two groups of people—one Black, one white—began exchanging words, and Mouat’s attack wound up sparking a brawl between the two groups.
Sadly, hate fueled incidents against Black teens weren’t exactly uncommon last year. The FBI has even said that white supremacists pose the greatest threat to domestic safety. I simply don’t understand why people like Mouat think that they can be violently racist and won’t face consequences. This ain’t the 1950’s anymore; you can’t just assault Black people for being Black and think the law is going to look the other way. Well, that is of course unless you wear a badge.
The attack left Freelon with a fractured jaw, lacerations on his face, and he lost several teeth which resulted in him needing multiple dental procedures. “It’s definitely been hard seeing your son every day with missing teeth and only 19 years. Nobody should go through that,” Freelon’s father, Devin Freelon Sr., told WDIV-TV.