Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Tallahassee Criminal Attorney > Blog > Criminal > Florida Man Faces Hate Crime Charges for Allegedly Attempting to Run Over Black Men

Florida Man Faces Hate Crime Charges for Allegedly Attempting to Run Over Black Men


A Cedar Key man was sentenced to 1 year and 1 day in prison and 2 years of supervised release after allegedly driving his truck at a group of Black men who were surveying land near Rosewood. The defendant was charged with a hate crime for attempting to intimidate the men who were just going about their business. Prosecutors say that he drove his truck toward the men while hurling racial slurs at them. Ironically, the incident took place near the horrific 1923 Rosewood Massacre, an ugly incident of racial violence in Florida’s history. One witness testified that the defendant came “within inches” of striking one of the victims.

Understanding hate crimes under Florida law 

Under Florida law, hate crimes cover a number of different criminal acts that are aimed at specific groups of people. These usually include sexual orientation, religion, race, gender, ethnicity, disability, and even political affiliation. Crimes committed based on hatred for a group of people often include:

  • Attacks on a victim’s home or church
  • Harassment
  • Murder
  • Physical assault
  • Rape
  • Robbery
  • Vandalism

In the majority of cases, an individual is charged with a hate crime in addition to an underlying offense. The hate crime charge acts as an intensifier making the stakes higher for anyone who is accused of committing some form of violence or intimidation. In this case, the perpetrator is lucky that he didn’t strike any of the men. If he had, he could have been convicted of aggravated battery with a motor vehicle. In that case, he would have faced a much longer sentence. Instead, he was charged with assault which is using the threat of violence for the purpose of intimidation.

As an example of a hate crime being used as an intensifier, let’s say that an individual commits some form of vandalism against Jewish temples. The state would argue that the offense was committed to intimidate the individuals who used the temple for worship. They would be charged with vandalizing the temple and also be charged with a hate crime intensifier. Unfortunately, this is a real example and hate crimes such as these occur all too often across the United States.

Defenses to hate crime charges in Florida

 In a hate crime prosecution, the state must prove specific elements of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt to convict the defendant. The prosecutor must be able to prove the base crime, like robbery or vandalism, and establish that the crime was bias-motivated. In other words, the state must prove the intent of the defendant and establish that they committed the crime because of a person’s ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender. A seasoned criminal defense attorney can argue that bias was not the driving factor behind the crime or demonstrate that there is insufficient evidence to prove that the crime was bias-motivated.

Talk to a Tallahassee Hate Crimes Attorney Today 

Tallahassee criminal lawyer Luke Newman, P.A. represents the interests of those who are being charged with hate crimes. Call our office today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing defense strategy right away.



Facebook Twitter LinkedIn
MileMark Media - Practice Growth Solutions

© 2021 - 2024 Luke Newman, P.A. All rights reserved.
This law firm marketing website is managed by MileMark Media.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.