Michigan man Lee James Mouat has pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime charge in connection with an attack on a Black teenager last summer. If it had gone to trial, prosecutors would have had little difficulty making the case against him: Multiple witnesses heard Mouat shout racial slurs and say "Black lives don't matter" before smashing the teen in the face with a bike lock, knocking out several teeth and fracturing his jaw. The 43-year-old admitted causing bodily injury to Devin Freelon because of the 18-year-old's race, the Detroit Free Press reports. Under a plea deal, he will face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced in June.
In the plea deal, Mouat admitted confronting a group of Black teenagers at Sterling State Park in Monroe on June 6 and telling them Black people had no right to use the beach. Witnesses said Mouat was drunk and angry about the teens playing music. They said he made racial remarks about the teens and said, "I wish someone would say something to me so I can beat them." Saima Mohsin, acting US attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, said the office is making investigating hate crimes a priority, Fox 2 reports. "The young victim in this case suffered tremendously from this vicious, racially motivated assault," Mohsin said. (Read more Michigan stories.)