A 55-year-old Florida man pleaded guilty on Monday to committing a federal hate crime against a Black shopper outside of a Family Dollar store in November 2021. Roy Lamar Lashley admittedly joined with his brother Robert Dewayne Lashley, 52, in the axe handle attack and beating of a victim identified only as D.B.
According to the Department of Justice, Roy Lashley admitted to a violation of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, specifically 18 U.S.C. § 249(a)(1).
“Whoever, whether or not acting under color of law, willfully causes bodily injury to any person or, through the use of fire, a firearm, a dangerous weapon, or an explosive or incendiary device, attempts to cause bodily injury to any person, because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin of any person […] shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, fined in accordance with this title, or both,” the statute says.
The factual basis for the plea, which Lashley agreed was a true account of his actions, said the defendant asked his brother whether he saw “that big Black n*****” at a cash register at the Family Dollar store in Citrus Springs, Florida.
“There, defendant Roy Lashley asked the clerk if she saw D.B. push him as he walked through the door. The clerk replied ‘no,’ prompting defendant Roy Lashley to again say that D.B. pushed him and that, “that n***** [D .B.] needs to be taught a lesson.”
“Surveillance video does not show D.B. push or otherwise contact defendant Roy Lashley as they passed one another. The clerk and store manager admonished co-defendants Robert and Roy Lashley for using racial slurs inside the store,” the factual basis of the plea agreement said.
Roy Lashley admitted that he and his brother followed the victim and attacked him, the former with an axe handle and the latter with his fists.
“Defendant Roy Lashley retrieved an axe handle from the bed of his truck, ran to the scene, and struck D.B. multiple times with it. In response, D.B. raised his arms to block the blows or punched back in self-defense. Co- defendants Robert and Roy Lashley each directed racial slurs towards D.B. before, during, and after the attack,” the factual basis continued.
Once Roy Lashley was under arrest, he admittedly told responding deputies, “If we don’t do anything about them, they will take over the world.” The DOJ said he continued to use racial slurs on the scene and even told deputies they were only arresting him because he was white.
Sentencing was set for Jan. 19, 2023.
Robert Lashley pleaded guilty on Oct. 4 to his role in the hate crime, which left the victim with an injured face and legs, as well as a laceration inside his mouth.
“The defendant in this case deliberately and brutally attacked the victim because of his race,” Middle District of Florida U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg said in a statement. “There is no place in our country for this type of abhorrent behavior, and we will prosecute those who commit these heinous crimes to the fullest extent of the law.
[Image via Citrus County Sheriff’s Office]
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