MONROE, Mich. – A Michigan man has pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime for attacking a Black teen last year.
Local 4 spoke with the father of the teen.
“He’s strong. He’s a lot stronger than I was at that age,” said Devin Freelon Sr.
Shortly after Devin Freelon Jr. graduated high school, he was attacked and now has one last dental surgery to endure.
“It’s definitely been hard seeing your son every day with missing teeth and only 19 years. Nobody should go through that,” said Freelon Sr.
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Last summer, the Department of Justice said Lee Mouat targeted a group of Black teenagers at Sterling State Park in Monroe. Using racial slurs, Mouat said the teens didn’t belong there and attacked Devin Jr., knocking out several teeth and fracturing his jaw.
His father said he has only one question for the 43-year-old Newport man.
“They’re kids, you’re a grown man. You didn’t have to swing a lock and hit my son in the face. You could’ve killed him. So, my question to him would be why?” he said.
Officials charged Mouat with a federal hate crime, saying:
“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.
“Hate-fueled incidents like this one have no place in a civilized society.” -- Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela Karlan for the Civil Rights Division
“In this day and age, you would think that people would be a little bit more kind and more loving toward one another. We see that’s not the case,” said Freelon Sr.
On Tuesday, Mouat pleaded guilty to willfully injuring the teen because of his race.
“I’m glad he took initiative to plead guilty. The justice part comes when we see exactly how much time he’s gonna do,” said Freelon Jr.
Mouat is facing up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
More: Michigan man pleads guilty to federal hate crime for attacking Black teen