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Press Release

Cincinnati man charged with federal hate crime for physically assaulting Asian American student based on race

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Ohio
Defendant made statements about COVID & ‘kung flu’ during the assault

CINCINNATI – A Cincinnati man has been charged with committing a federal hate crime by physically assaulting a victim based on the victim’s race.


Darrin Johnson, 26, was indicted by a federal grand jury yesterday and arrested this morning. His case was unsealed when he appeared in federal court at 1:30pm.


According to the indictment, on Aug. 17, 2021, Johnson physically attacked an Asian American victim on Calhoun Street at the University of Cincinnati.


It is alleged Johnson made racist comments toward the victim, including, “Go back to your country…You brought the kung flu here…You’re going to die for bringing it.”


After allegedly threatening to kill the victim, Johnson’s charging documents detail that he punched the victim on the side of his head. The force of the punch caused the victim to fall and hit his head on the bumper of a parked car.


The victim suffered multiple injuries, including a minor concussion and facial lacerations.


Two individuals who witnessed the assault intervened and one held Johnson down until law enforcement arrived.


In October 2021, Johnson pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and criminal intimidation for the incident and was sentenced to serve 360 days in county jail.


If convicted of a federal hate crime, Johnson would face up to 10 years in prison.


Kenneth L. Parker, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and J. William Rivers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, announced the charges. Assistant United States Attorney Megan Gaffney Painter is representing the United States in this case.


An indictment merely contains allegations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.


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Updated November 3, 2022

Hate Crimes