Federal prosecutors in Florida accused two brothers of committing a hate crime against a Black man leaving a Family Dollar earlier in the month. The pair attacked the man, hitting them with their fists and an ax handle as they peppered him with racial slurs.
On Tuesday, Oct. 4, Robert Lashley, one of the men involved in the brutal beating of a 24-year-old Black man identified as D.B. in court records, confessed in court to the “racially motivated” crime, according to the Department of Justice.
According to the news release from the agency, the 52-year-old “pleaded guilty today to a federal hate crime for attacking a Black man because of his actual and perceived race.”
The plea agreement stated that on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, Lashley and his brother Roy Lamar Lashley opened the Family Dollar store door as the victim walked out.
Once in the store, Roy Lamar, 55, asked Robert if he saw the Black man, claiming that he pushed or bumped him while referring to him by the N-word.
The two men approached a cashier working in the discount store and asked her if she saw the man push him. The worker said, “No,” the agreement states.
Store surveillance footage, pulled by investigators, supports the clerk’s answer, showing the Black man never touched Roy Lamar.
Roy continued to insist that he was pushed, and said, “that (racist slur) needs to be taught a lesson.”
Investigators also note the store clerk “admonished” both men for using the derogatory word, as the two started to grow angrier.
The men then followed the Black man into the parking lot, near the intersection of North Citrus Springs Boulevard and North Deltona Boulevard in Citrus Springs, before attacking him.
Lashley ran over first to start beating him, as Roy Lamar went to his truck to retrieve an ax handle to strike the man with. The victim suffered injuries to his face, and legs and “a laceration to the inside of his mouth.”
A Citrus County Sheriff’s Office deputy was called to the scene of the crime and arrested the men on the spot.
For this, Lashley and Roy, each “aiding and abetting on another” were indicted by a grand jury in Ocala for causing bodily injury to the victim because of the victim’s actual and perceived race. Both also admitted to attacking the man because of his race.
On Sunday, June 17, Lashley’s indictment revealing his crime was unsealed.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, “The defendant is being held accountable for subjecting a Black man to a brutal and racially-motivated assault. Convictions like these make clear that the Department of Justice will continue to investigate and prosecute individuals who violently assault others because of their race.”
“Racially-motivated hate crimes have no place in our society,” Clarke added.
The DOJ said a sentencing hearing has not been set for Lashley, but that he faces a maximum term of 10 years in prison, three years of mandatory supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
After the hearing, Douglas Stamm, the attorney for Lashley, according to the Miami Herald, decided not to give a statement on behalf of his client.
Roy Lamar Lashley is scheduled to go before the court on Oct. 17, where it is anticipated that he will also plead guilty to the hate crime.
The prosecution is clear on the government’s stance on such hateful acts, with U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg for the Middle District of Florida calling the bigotry, “Abhorrent.”
“Acts of violence against anyone because of their race or ethnicity are abhorrent,” said Handberg. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that such crimes are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The FBI and the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office are also working with the state on the case.
Special Agent in Charge Sherri E. Onks from the Jacksonville Field Division said, “Hate crimes are not only an attack on the victim, these crimes threaten and intimidate entire communities.”
Onks continued, “Because of their wide-ranging impact, investigating and preventing hate crimes is a top priority for the FBI and we will stop at nothing to protect the public from these heinous crimes.”