A Michigan man faces five years in prison for a hate crime attack on a Black teenager.
A U.S. District Court judge ruled that the 43-year-old white man will serve five years in prison and three years of supervised release.
According to authorities, last June, Mouat approached then-18-year-old Devin Freelon and his friends at the Sterling State Park in Detroit and confronted them about their loud music. He hurled racial slurs like “Black lives don’t matter” and “Ni**ers don’t belong on this beach!” and then left the premises, later returning with a bike lock, which he used to strike Freelon in the face.
Amid the attack, he knocked out three of the teen’s teeth before unsuccessfully attempting to hit one of his friends. Aside from losing his teeth, Freelon suffered a fractured jaw and lacerations on his face and mouth. He was taken to a local hospital where he was treated for the cuts and underwent several dental surgeries.
“It’s definitely been hard seeing your son every day with missing teeth and only 19 years,” his father, Devin Freelon Sr., previously told NBC affiliate WDIV-TV. “Nobody should go through that.”
Mouat pleaded guilty to willfully causing bodily injury to a victim in March and admitted that he committed the act because of the victim’s race. Per the terms of his plea deal, the 43-year-old originally faced up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Upon his sentencing announcement, he learned he would serve half of the time behind bars.
“The cowardly and unprovoked attack on this young victim is terribly disturbing,” Acting U.S. Attorney Saima Mohsin said of Mouat’s behavior. “Every individual citizen has the right to not live in fear of violence or attack based on the color of their skin.”
After Devin’s story surfaced, a Michigan dentist provided him with $15,000 worth of free dental care to replace the missing teeth and repair the oral damage.