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Press Release

Toledo men indicted for beating African-American stranger they saw on the street

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Ohio

A federal grand jury returned a one-count indictment charging Charles Butler, 33, and Robert Paschalis, 25, both of Toledo, with a federal hate crime today for beating an African-American stranger they saw on the street.

The indictment was announced by Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Vanita Gupta, U.S. Attorney Carole S. Rendon of the Northern District of Ohio, Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony of the FBI’s Cleveland Division, Toledo Police Chief George Kral and Lucas County Prosecutor Julie Bates.

The men are accused of beating the victim, A.W., because he is black.  On May 18, 2016, Butler and Paschalis drove past A.W. on the street while A.W. was unloading items from his truck.  The two men circled back, got out of their own truck and began attacking A.W. while yelling racial slurs.  Butler grabbed a broom from the back of A.W.’s truck and struck A.W. with it multiple times, according to court documents.

The beating stopped only when two off-duty Ohio state police officers happened on the scene and pulled Butler and Paschalis away.  A.W. suffered an orbital fracture and damage to his right eye.  Butler later posted to Facebook that the attack was “in the name of the White Race,” according to court documents.

“These defendants launched an unprovoked attack on an African-American man based solely on his race,” Rendon said. “There is no place for racial violence in our society and these two men will be held accountable.”

“These individuals engaged in a violent assault against another person based on his race and now will be held accountable,” Anthony said. “The FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure hate crimes are thoroughly investigated and prosecuted to the greatest extent of the law.”

Kral said: “The Toledo Police Department is committed to protecting all citizens from those who chose to pray on them. Whenever a crime is motivated simply because of the victim’s race it makes the crime all the worse.  I commend the United States Attorney’s Office for the charging of this person as they see fit. I want to let the citizens of Toledo know that we will work tirelessly to protect their interest at the local, state and federal level.”

An indictment is only a charge and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Freeman of the Northern District of Ohio and Trial Attorney Dana Mulhauser of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section following an investigation by the FBI’s Toledo Resident Agency, in cooperation with Toledo Police Department and Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office. 

Updated August 3, 2016

Civil Rights