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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Utah

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Man Convicted Of Hate Crime For Using A Stun Device During A Racially-Motivated Assault Of His Neighbor

SALT LAKE CITY – Following a three-day trial, a jury found Mark Porter, 59, a former resident of Draper, guilty late Wednesday afternoon of committing a federal hate crime when he used a stun device during the racially-motivated assault of a neighbor at his apartment complex in Draper, Utah.  The jury further found that the defendant used a dangerous weapon – a stun cane.  Prior to his arrest in this case, Porter was living in of Lake Havasu City, AZ.

Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division John Gore, U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah John W. Huber, and Special Agent in Charge for the Salt Lake City Field Office of the FBI Eric Barnhart announced that the defendant was found guilty of the single offense charged in the indictment -- using force and the threat of force to injure, intimidate, and interfere with an African-American man because of his race and because of his occupancy of a nearby apartment in the complex.

Evidence presented at trial showed that the defendant shouted a racial slur at the victim’s 7-year-old son as the boy rode on a scooter in a common area at the apartment complex.  After the defendant told the child to “get out of here,” he used the stun cane to injure the victim, knocking the victim to the ground.  The defendant then used a racial slur to refer to the victim and his son and told them both to “get out of here.”

Evidence presented at trial also established that, prior to the incident, the defendant had told an employee and maintenance staff at the apartment complex that he did not want to live near any African-Americans.  Immediately prior to the incident with the boy and his father, the defendant told another neighbor that he thought that African-Americans needed to be “exterminated.”

“Porter’s violent conduct, motivated by his intolerance of another race, is an egregious crime that will not be tolerated by this Justice Department,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “We will continue to protect the civil rights of all individuals and vigorously prosecute hate crime cases.”

“There is no place in Utah for race-motivated hatred and violence,” said U.S. Attorney John W. Huber. “All families deserve the opportunity to live peaceably in their homes where they may pursue happiness in safe environments. The jury in this case spoke on behalf of our Utah communities and definitively stated that this criminal conduct will not be tolerated.”

Sentencing is set for May 30 before U.S. District Judge Dee Benson. The defendant faces a maximum sentence of 10 years and a fine of $250,000.

Special agents of the FBI investigated the case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney J. Drew Yeates of the Utah U.S. Attorney’s Office and Trial Attorney Rose E. Gibson of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section.

Civil Rights
Updated March 22, 2018