Justice News

Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Two Florida Men Sentenced for Racially-Motivated Hate Crime Following Violent Assault on a Black Man

Two Florida men were sentenced today in federal court in the Middle District of Florida for hate crime charges in connection with their racially-motivated attack against a Black man in Citrus Springs.  

Roy Lashley, 56, was sentenced to 60 months in prison, and his brother, Robert Lashley, 52, was sentenced to 36 months in prison.

According to the facts admitted in the defendants’ pleas, on Nov. 17, 2021, Roy and Robert Lashley traveled to the Family Dollar in Citrus Springs, where the victim, a Black man, was shopping inside. After Roy Lashley repeatedly used racial slurs inside the store in reference to the victim, both Roy and Robert Lashley followed the victim into the parking lot. There, Robert Lashley ran to the victim and hit him numerous times, while Roy Lashley retrieved an axe handle from the bed of his truck, ran to the scene, and struck the victim multiple times with it. Both Roy and Robert Lashley directed racial slurs towards the victim before, during, and after the attack. The victim sustained painful injuries to his face and legs, including a laceration to the inside of his mouth. Both Roy and Robert Lashley admitted that they willfully caused bodily injury to the victim and acted because of the victim’s actual or perceived race or color.

“Driven by bigotry and hate, the defendants brutally assaulted a Black man for no other reason than his race,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Racially-motivated violence is abhorrent, unlawful and has no place in America today. Aggressive prosecution of hate crimes is a top priority for the Civil Rights Division, and these sentences should send a message to others who would carry out similar acts of violence that they will be brought to justice.”

“The brutal attack against the victim in this case was motivated by hate and bigotry,” said U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg for the Middle District of Florida. “Because of the great determination and cooperation between our federal and local law enforcement partners, we were able to bring these callous criminals to justice.”

“Civil rights investigations are at the heart of what we do at the FBI,” Special Agent in Charge Sherri E. Onks of the FBI Jacksonville Field Office. “Hate crimes are not only an attack on the victim; they are meant to threaten and intimidate an entire community. Because of their wide-ranging impact, investigating hate crimes is among the FBI's highest priorities, and we will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to seek justice for victims and their communities.”

Assistant Attorney General Clarke, U.S. Attorney Handberg and Special Agent in Charge Onks made the announcement.

The FBI and the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office investigated the matter.

Trial Attorneys Maura White and Matthew Tannenbaum of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney William Hamilton for the Middle District of Florida prosecuted the case. 

For more information and resources about the department’s work to combat hate crimes, visit www.justice.gov/hatecrimes.

Topic(s): 
Civil Rights
Hate Crimes
Press Release Number: 
23-98
Updated January 25, 2023