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Press Release

Two Toledo men charged with a federal hate crime for beating African-American stranger they saw on the street

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

Charles Butler, 33, and Robert Paschalis, 25, both of Toledo, were charged with a federal hate crime today for beating an African-American stranger they saw on the street.

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

The men were charged by complaint with beating the victim, A.W., because he is black.  According to the complaint, 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.

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.”

“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.”

“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.”

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.”

A complaint is merely an accusation and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

This case is being investigated by the FBI Cleveland Division’s Toledo Resident Agency, in cooperation with Toledo Police Department and Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office.  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.

Updated July 29, 2016

Civil Rights