A white man in Michigan faces a federal hate crime charge for allegedly attacking a Black teenager with a bike lock — knocking out several of his teeth and breaking his jaw — and yelling, “Black lives don’t matter,” among other racial slurs.
Lee Mouat, 42, was charged in the Eastern District of Michigan with assaulting Devon Freelon, 18, because of the teen’s race, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday.
The incident occurred on June 6, when Mouat, who was with his family, confronted a group of Black teens he didn’t know, including Freelon, in a parking lot at Sterling State Park, about 37 miles south of Detroit, the federal criminal complaint alleges. Using a racial slur, Mouat told the teens they “don’t belong on this beach,” the complaint said.
Witnesses said they heard Mouat say he would “bash their heads” if Freelon and his friends didn’t lower their music and heard him scream, “Black lives don’t matter,” the complaint says.
One witness said Mouat repeatedly called the group the “N-word,” according to the complaint. Another witness said Mouat also called the teens “monsters,” said he wanted to “hit them with this cooler,” and said, “I wish someone would say something to me so I can beat them.”
“Mouat approached them, and Mouat and the young men began yelling at each other,” according to the complaint. “Mouat walked to his vehicle and retrieved a chain bike-lock, returned to the group of young men, and struck one of them in the jaw with the bike-lock.”
Freelon, who was a high school student at the time, according to NBC Detroit affiliate WDIV, suffered a fractured jaw and lost several teeth in the attack, the Justice Department said in a news release Tuesday.
Mouat had previously been arraigned on June 9 by a county judge on state charges of ethnic intimidation, assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder and assault with a dangerous weapon for the attack, according to NBC Detroit affiliate WDIV.
He was being held in Monroe County Jail as of Wednesday morning, and has a pretrial hearing in the state case on Oct. 30. Mouat has yet to appear before a judge for the federal charge.
NBC News reached out to Mouat’s lawyer by phone on Wednesday morning, but did not immediately receive a response.