Two Toledo, Ohio men were sentenced Wednesday to prison for beating an African-American stranger they saw on the street, according to officials.
Robert Paschalis,, 25, was sentenced to two years in prison while Charles Butler was sentenced to seven years in prison. Both men pleaded guilty in November to violating the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
According to documents filed in connection with the case, on May 18, 2016, Paschalis and Butler drove past the victim, A.W., on the street while A.W. was unloading items from his truck.
The two men circled back, got out of their own truck and began attacking A.W. while yelling racial slurs. Butler grabbed a broom from the back of A.W.’s truck and struck A.W. with it multiple times, officials said.
Paschalis later admitted that the beating occurred because A.W. is African American. Paschalis said that, unlike Butler, he had not “earned” his swastika tattoo yet.
The beating stopped only when two off-duty police officers happened on the scene and pulled Butler and Paschalis away. A.W. suffered an orbital fracture and damage to his right eye. Butler later posted on Facebook that the attack was “in the name of the White Race.”
“This sentence sends a stern message to those who practice and advocate racial violence,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler. “Robust prosecution of hate crimes is a priority for the Justice Department, and we will continue to vigorously enforce these laws.”
“Attacks like these have no place in our society,” Acting U.S. Attorney David A. Sierleja said. “The victim in this case was minding his own business when he was jumped by two racists. They deserve the prison sentences they received today.”
“These individuals engaged in a violent assault against another person based on his race and are now being held accountable,” said FBI Cleveland Special Agent in Charge Stephen Anthony. “The FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure hate crimes are thoroughly investigated and prosecuted to the greatest extent of the law.”