Michigan man pleads guilty to hate crime after ‘vicious, racially motivated assault’ with bike lock

Mar 31, 2021 at 10:05 am
Lee Mouat, 43, of Newport. - U.S. Department of Justice
U.S. Department of Justice
Lee Mouat, 43, of Newport.

A Michigan man who knocked out the teeth of a Black teenager and fractured his jaw with a bicycle chain lock pleaded guilty Tuesday to a federal hate crime.

As part of a plea agreement, Lee Mouat, 43, of Newport, admitted he confronted a group of Black teenagers at a state park in Monroe and repeatedly used racial slurs, telling them they could not use the beach, according to the U.S. Department of Justice Department.

Mouat then struck one of the teens in the face with a bike lock, knocking out several of his teeth, lacerating his face and mouth, and fracturing his jaw. Mouat also tried attack another Black teenager with the bike lock. Witnesses said Mouat repeatedly used the N-word and said “Black lives don’t matter.”

“The young victim in this case suffered tremendously from this vicious, racially motivated assault,” Acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin for the Eastern District of Michigan said in a written statement. “Every individual citizen has the right to not live in fear of violence or attack based on the color of their skin.”

Mouat faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced on June 24.

“Hate-fueled incidents like this one have no place in a civilized society,” Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela Karlan for the Civil Rights Division said. “The Justice Department is committed to using all the tools in our law enforcement arsenal to prosecute violent acts motivated by hate.”

The FBI investigated the case.

“Mouat’s hateful and violent conduct, motivated by racial intolerance, was intended to physically harm the victim as well as create fear within the African-American community,” Special Agent in Charge Timothy Waters of the FBI’s Detroit Division said. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to ensure that if a crime is motivated by bias, it will be investigated as a hate crime and the perpetrators will be held responsible for their actions. We encourage anyone who has been the victim of or witness to such a crime to report it to the FBI.”

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.