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Press Release

Virginia Man Found Guilty of Charges in Bias-Related Attack on Construction Workers

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Columbia
Defendant Screamed Racist Epithets, Beat Two Workers With Construction Tool

            WASHINGTON – Kurt Madsen, 53, of Arlington, Virginia, has been found guilty by a jury on charges stemming from a hate crime in which he attacked two Hispanic construction workers with a construction tool that he used as a weapon in Northwest Washington.

            The announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves and Robert J. Contee III, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

            Madsen was found guilty by a jury on April 26, 2022, of two bias-related assaults and possession of a prohibited weapon. The verdict followed a three-day trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. Today, he was sentenced by the Honorable Robert D. Okun to a total of 540 days in jail. However, the judge suspended the jail term to the time already served by Madsen, on the condition that he successfully complete two years of probation. Madsen was detained for a total of 160 days before trial.

            According to the government’s evidence, on July 13, 2019, at approximately 6 p.m., the victims, all of whom are Hispanic construction workers, were closing their construction site near Seventh Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW for the day. Madsen – who was not working at the site -- came to where the men were working and asked to use their power washer. After being denied permission to use the power washer, Madsen became enraged and began screaming racist and xenophobic epithets.

            Madsen then picked up a scraper, a long, rod-like construction tool with a sharp metal blade at one end.  He struck one of the victims in the back with the scraper, after which he attempted to stab the victim in the stomach with the blade of the scraper.  At this point, the second victim tried to intervene, and Madsen struck that victim in the face several times, cutting the victim’s face and loosening two of his teeth. Two bystanders saw the attack and stopped to help. One bystander took the scraper from Madsen and remained on the scene until police arrived.  The other bystander called 911. Madsen was arrested at the scene.

            In announcing the verdict and sentence, U.S. Attorney Graves and Chief Contee commended the work of those who investigated the case from the Metropolitan Police Department.  They also expressed appreciation for the work of those who handled the case at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Victim/Witness Advocate Christina Bloodworth, Paralegal Specialist Kathryn Hoey, and other support personnel, including the Litigation Technology Unit.

            Finally, they commended the efforts of Assistant U.S. Attorney Benjamin Helfand and Assistant U.S. Attorney Bonnie Lindemann, who prosecuted the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Shalin Nohria and former Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Millicent Jones, who investigated the case.

            Prosecuting bias-related crimes is critical to keeping our community safe. When one member of a group in the community is the victim of a bias-related crime, all members carry with them a fear that they, too, may be targeted because of who they are. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia (USAO-DC) is committed to enforcing both federal and local hate and bias-related crime laws.

            For more information:

Updated April 29, 2022

Hate Crimes
Press Release Number: 22-125