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A Florida man is facing 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to a federal hate crime for brutally attacking a Black man simply because of the color of his skin.

Robert Lashley is one of two suspected white supremacists who targeted the unidentified Black man in a Dollar Store in the town of Citrus Springs last year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a press release announcing his guilty plea.

From the DOJ:

According to the plea agreement, on Nov. 17, 2021, Lashley traveled to the Family Dollar in Citrus Springs, Florida, where the victim, a Black man, was shopping inside. Lashley followed the victim outside into the parking lot and then attacked him, striking the victim multiple times. Lashley and his co-defendant, Roy Lamar Lashley, directed racial slurs towards the victim before, during and after the attack. The victim sustained injuries to his face and legs, including a laceration to the inside of his mouth.

The Macon Telegraph reported that Robert Lashley “began beating the man with his fists while Roy Lamar Lashley grabbed an ax handle from his truck and proceeded to strike the man with it, according to prosecutors. They both hurled racist slurs at the man during the course of the attack, prosecutors said.”

It was not immediately clear whether Robert and Roy Lamar Ashley were related or just happened to share the same surname. The case against Roy Lamar Ashley, who is charged with aiding and abetting Robert Lashley and willfully causing bodily injury to the Black man because of his race, is ongoing, the DOJ said.

Robert Lashley “is being held accountable for subjecting a Black man to a brutal and racially-motivated assault,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “Convictions like these make clear that the Department of Justice will continue to investigate and prosecute individuals who violently assault others because of their race. Racially-motivated hate crimes have no place in our society.”

In addition to facing 10 years in prison, Robert Lashley could also get up to three years of mandatory supervised release after serving his bid and be fined up to $250,000. A sentencing hearing had not been set as of Thursday morning.

Robert Lashley is the third white man in the past two weeks to plead guilty to a federal hate crime because of violence against Black people.

Devan Nathanial Johnson and Brandon Wayne Killian are facing the same prison time as Robert Lashley after they were convicted last week for targeting and beating a Black man and his white friend in the parking lot of a restaurant in Oklahoma last year “because of the Black man’s race and color,” the DOJ said.

Also last week, the DOJ indicted a Mississippi man on federal hate crime and arson violations after he allegedly set a cross a blaze in his front yard to try to intimidate a Black family.

Court documents allege that 23-year-old Axel C. Cox — charged with one count of criminal interference with the right to fair housing and one count of using fire to commit a federal felony — threatened, intimidated and interfered with a Black family’s enjoyment of their housing rights. The indictment claims that Cox burned a cross in his front yard, and used threatening and racially derogatory remarks toward his Black neighbors. He also allegedly chose to burn the cross because of the victims’ race.

This is America.


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