A man in Michigan has admitted to beating a Black teen with a bike chain due to his race.
The Justice Department said in a statement on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, that 43-year-old Lee James Mouat pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime for the incident that occurred in June. He is scheduled to be sentenced on June 24.
Mouat faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000 if convicted.
In the plea agreement, Mouat admitted that he confronted a group of Black teenagers at a state park, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said Tuesday. Mouat also said he repeatedly used racial slurs and said Black people could not use the beach where the incident occurred.
Mouat also admitted to striking the face of one of the teenagers with a bike lock, which knocked out several of his teeth, lacerated his face and mouth, and fractured his jaw. He also attempted to strike another Black teenager with the bike lock.
The DOJ did not name the victim. The Detroit Free Press reported that it was 18-year-old Devin Freelon Jr.
Federal prosecutors first charged Mouat in October with “willfully causing bodily injury to an African American teenager because of the teenager’s race.”
A criminal complaint at the time said that he yelled “N—— don’t belong on this beach” and “Black lives don’t matter” before attacking the victim.
A grand jury indicted Mouat in February on two charges for willfully causing bodily injury to a Black teenager and attempting to cause bodily injury to another Black teenager because of their race.
According to MLive.com, the second charge was dropped as part of his guilty plea.