A grand jury recently indicted a Pittsburgh PA man on federal hate crime charges stemming from what authorities believe was an unprovoked attack at a Bethel Park restaurant.
On November 22, 2016, the 54-year-old suspect allegedly attacked another man at the Red Robin located in Bethel Park shopping mall South Hills Village. Both the suspect and the victim were reportedly patrons at the chain restaurant. According to Bethel Park police, the suspect believed that the victim was Muslim and reacted by elbowing and punching the victim in the head. Additionally, the suspect allegedly shouted racial slurs at the victim during the violent incident.
The victim sustained abrasions and contusions as a result of the attack and required medical treatment at an area medical facility.
Meanwhile, detectives with the Bethel Park Police Department arrested the suspect. He was charged with numerous crimes, including simple assault, harassment, ethnic intimidation, and public drunkenness.
Once the specific details of the assault became clear to authorities, local law enforcement notified federal officials. The US Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania then got involved and explored the possibility of bringing federal criminal charges against the suspect.
Federal prosecutors later decided to charge the suspect with violating the Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The statute prohibits anyone from causing bodily injury to a person because of their perceived race, color, or national origin.
Now the suspect has been indicted by a federal grand jury, which means he could be headed to trial. If the suspect is ultimately convicted of violating the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, he could be sentenced to up to 10 years in federal prison on that charge alone.
While the suspect awaits resolution of the case, he is being held at the Allegheny County Jail in downtown Pittsburgh.
If you have been charged with a violent crime in Pennsylvania, you face severe penalties. That’s why you need a qualified criminal defense lawyer on your side and protecting your rights. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of James Crosby will help you beat your charges. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.