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A Michigan man who allegedly yelled “Black lives don’t matter” before breaking a Black teen’s jaw with a bike chain has been charged with committing a hate crime.
Lee Mouat, 42, was walking with his family at a public beach in Monroe, Michigan on June 6 when he allegedly started complaining loudly about the music a group of Black teens was playing, according to a criminal complaint affidavit uploaded Tuesday by the U.S. Justice Department.
Mouat, who is white, allegedly commented on the teens’ “gang music” and referred to the three young men as “n-----s” and “monsters,” according to one witness.
“I wish somebody would say something to me so I can beat them,” the witness recalled Mouat saying, according to the affidavit.
Mouat allegedly started shouting at the teenagers as one of them, Devin Freelon, pulled the portable speaker out of his car. Witnesses claimed he was yelling “N-----s don’t belong on this beach” and “Black lives don’t matter,” according to the affidavit.
The man then allegedly approached the teens, shouting, “This is my beach, n-----!” according to the affidavit. One of the young men, anticipating a fight, claimed he then confronted Mouat, saying, “We’ll kick your ass.” The teen said Mouat said he needed to get something from his car, so he assumed the man was going to leave with his family, according to the affidavit.
Instead, Mouat allegedly returned with a chain bike lock and swung the lock into Freelon’s face. The teen's jaw was fractured and he lost several teeth, according to a Tuesday press release by the U.S. Justice Department.
Mouat was arrested and charged with a felony assault, ethnic intimidation, and assault with intent to do great bodily harm, WXYZ-TV, a Detroit station, reports. His charges were upgraded Tuesday to include a federal hate crime charge, according to the press release.
Freelon’s family organized a GoFundMe campaign in hopes of paying for dental surgery on Freelon, who was just days away from graduating high school. The campaign raised over $18,000 before a local dentist’s office offered to do the surgery for free, according to the campaign page.
Freelon received temporary teeth implants just hours before his graduation, with plans for permanent implants in the works, according to local newspaper The Monroe News.
Mouat’s attorney could not be immediately reached for comment.
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