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Press Release

Florida Man Found Guilty of Hate Crime for Racially-Motivated Attack Against Black Man Driving with his Family

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Florida

Tampa, FL – Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, U.S. Attorney Roger Handberg for the Middle District of Florida and Special Agent in Charge David Walker of the FBI Tampa Field Office announced that a federal jury in Tampa, Florida, returned a guilty verdict against Jordan Patrick Leahy, 29, for a racially-motivated attack against a Black man who was traveling down a public roadway with his family. 

At trial the government introduced evidence that on Aug. 8, 2021, Leahy came upon the victim, J.T., who was driving his daughter and girlfriend home from a family get together, and began threatening J.T., calling him racial slurs, and used his car in an attempt to force J.T. and his family off the road. Leahy’s pursuit of J.T. and his family lasted nearly a mile and half before Leahy sideswiped J.T. as J.T. attempted to evade the attack. Leahy fled the scene of the accident, but stopped at the next red light. J.T. pulled behind Leahy at the light, and Leahy got out of his car, stormed at J.T., and tried to assault him, again yelling racial slurs. When officers from the Pinellas County Sherriff’s Office arrived on the scene, Leahy made numerous statements evidencing his bias motive, including telling the officers that Black people need to be kept “in their areas.”

 “Across America, families must be able to freely travel our public streets without fear of being attacked because of race,” said Assistant Attorney General Clarke. “This verdict should send a strong message that the Department of Justice remains firmly committed to prosecuting, to the fullest extent of the law, those who would use violence to enforce heinous racist beliefs.”

“No one should be targeted, threatened, intimidated or assaulted because of their race,” said U.S. Attorney Handberg. “The defendant in this case acted upon his bigoted beliefs and put an entire family and others’ safety at risk. We and our local, state and federal law enforcement partners will not tolerate such behaviors in our community.”

“Hate crimes are not just an attack on an individual, they are an attack on entire communities,” said Special Agent in Charge Walker. “We want to assure the public the FBI will work diligently investigating crimes driven by hate and intolerance. We encourage anyone who believes their civil rights have been violated to report it to the FBI.”

Leahy faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. Leahy was remanded to the custody of the U.S. Marshals pending sentencing.   

The case was investigated by the FBI, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Highway Patrol. Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlton Gammons for the Middle District of Florida and Trial Attorneys David Reese and Laura-Kate Bernstein of the Civil Rights Division are prosecuting the case.

Updated August 25, 2022

Civil Rights
Hate Crimes