White Newport man charged with assaulting Black teen in ‘racially motivated crime’ in Monroe County

An 18-year-old’s jaw was broken during an assault on Saturday evening

Lee James Mouat Jr., 42, of Newport, Michigan was charged on June 8, 2020 for assaulting an 18-year-old Black man in Monroe County two days prior. (WDIV)

MONROE COUNTY, Mich. – Demonstrators are planning to gather at St. Mary’s Park in Monroe on Monday afternoon in solidarity with a local Black teen who was severely assaulted on Saturday evening.

Officials say Devin Freelon -- an 18-year-old senior at Orchard Center High School who was poised to graduate this week -- was attacked at Sterling State Park in a racially-motivated crime. A 42-year-old White man from Newport is accused of verbally attacking Freelon and his friends with racial slurs, and then hitting the teen in the face with a weapon.

Freelon’s jaw was broken and he lost several teeth and suffered trauma to his face during the attack, according to an account from the victim’s cousin.

The attacker, Lee James Mouat Jr. was charged Monday morning with assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, assault with a dangerous weapon and ethnic intimidation. He is expected to be arraigned on Tuesday.

The racially-charged attack occurred amid a significant national outcry against racism following the killing of Black Minneapolis man George Floyd.

Currently many cities across Michigan and around the country are protesting and marching in support of protecting Black Americans’ lives and safety. Monroe protest organizers shared the event details for Monday’s protest on Facebook demanding “Justice for Devin” and saying, “This is why we march.”

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