By: Alyssa Wilson
WARNING: This story contains graphic details of racial violence.
A 43-year-old Michigan man was sentenced to five years in prison for attacking a Black teenager with a bike lock, which was classified as a hate crime.
Lee Mouat admitted to confronting a group of Black teenagers at a state park in Monroe, Michigan, in June 2020. Mouat struck 18-year-old Devin Freelon, Jr. with the metal object, knocking out several of his teeth, cutting his face and fracturing his jaw. He also attempted to hit another Black teenager with the lock.
The violence did not stop there. When Freelon fell to the ground after being struck, Mouat kicked him in the face repeatedly until he lost consciousness, Buzzfeed News reported.
Lee James Mouat, 42, is charged with a hate crime for yelling “Nigg*rs don’t belong on this beach” then striking a teenager with a chain bike-lock—knocking out teeth & breaking his jaw.
— Cornell William Brooks (@CornellWBrooks) October 14, 2020
According to the Department of Justice, Mouat also used racial slurs and said Black people had no right to use the public beach where he attacked them. He pleaded guilty on March 4 in an agreement with prosecutors where he would serve five years instead of the maximum for a non-lethal hate crime. After serving his 60-month sentence, he must serve three years of supervised release.
“The defendant brutally attacked teenagers at a public beach because these young people are Black,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke. “Hate-fueled crimes like this have no place in our communities. Protecting Americans from hate crimes is a top priority of the Justice Department and we will use every tool available to bring perpetrators to justice.” Clarke was recently confirmed as the first Black woman to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.
The attack happened five days before Freelon was set to graduate from high school. After the story received media coverage, Dr. Nawras Nahor of Amazing Dental surprised the teen with close to $15,000 of free dental work so he could attend his graduation ceremony.
If you or someone you know is suffering from trauma triggered by this story, resources are available here.