A Michigan Teen Lost Teeth. Now, a Hate Crime Charge

Lee James Mouat allegedly swung a bike lock at the teen's face in June
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2020 12:57 PM CDT
Witness: Before Attack, He Called Teens 'Monsters'
Witnesses say the alleged incident took place in a parking lot. (Stock photo)   (Getty Images)

A 42-year-old Michigan man allegedly hurled insult after insult at three Black teens in a parking lot before attacking one of them in the face with a bike lock. Lee James Mouat was on Tuesday charged with a federal hate crime in connection with the June 6 incident at Sterling State Park. The New York Times cites witnesses as saying Mouat used a number of racial slurs; shouted "Black lives don't matter"; said the teens didn't belong on the park's beach; referred to them as "monsters"; said "I want to hit them with this cooler"; and expressed a desire that "someone would say something to me so I can beat them." Prosecutors say Mouat did eventually strike Devin Freelon. Per the complaint, the 18-year-old suffered a "facial fracture, facial lacerations, and the loss of several teeth."

The Washington Post reports one of Freelon's friends describes the series of events in the criminal complaint: The friend told Mouat, "We'll kick your a--," and Mouat responded by saying "I've got something for you in my car." Mouat and his family then walked to a minivan, which the friend took as an indication they were leaving. Freelon began walking toward his own car, and the friend says Mouat then directed a "Hey!" at Freelon and swung the chain bike lock; Freelon fell to the ground after receiving the blow. Per the friend, a second blow was then directed at Freelon but missed, and police then arrived. Fox 2 Detroit in June reported that a dentist fixed Freelon's teeth for free. The Times notes Mouat also faces state felony charges of assault and ethnic intimidation. (More hate crime stories.)

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