DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A 26-year-old man who admitted to assaulting another man at a Detroit gas station because he believed the victim was gay has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Everett Avery, of Detroit, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court in Detroit after pleading guilty to committing a hate crime.
Authorities say Avery punched Justin Alesna in the face in March 2011. Alesna, then 23-years-old, said he was in line to buy cigarettes at the BP gas station, located at 18900 Greenfield, when a man told him he was standing too close and directed anti-gay slurs toward him.
Alesna said he was attacked after telling the man he was gay. Alesna also said the clerk at the gas station not only refused to call police, but he encouraged the attacker to “Kill it, bro.”
Alesna, who suffered a fractured eye socket during the assault, gained national attention after posting a video to YouTube that showed his facial injuries from the attack.
“Hate-fueled incidents like this one have no place in a civilized society,” Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, said in a statement. “The Justice Department is committed to using all the tools in our law enforcement arsenal, including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, to prosecute acts motivated by hate.”
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Pamela Thompson from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Trial Attorney Sanjay Patel from the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.
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