A 14-year-old faces a hate-crime enhancement charge after Palm Bay police said he carried out a racially motivated attack on a 22-year-old man for listening to rap music.
The teen was taken into custody late Monday and charged with battery after Palm Bay police were called to investigate a disturbance near the intersection of Port Malabar Boulevard and India Lane in the northeast section of the city.
Hate-crime enhancement means the first-degree misdemeanor battery charge could be elevated to a third-degree felony because the youth showed “extreme prejudice against the victim because of his race,” said Yvonne Martinez, spokeswoman for the Palm Bay Police Department.
“The victim, who is white, was walking along Port Malabar listening to rap music when he saw the suspect and a group of other youth,” Martinez said.
The 14-year-old, who police say may have known the man, told the man to stop listening to the rap music, “because he was white,” and that, “white people shouldn’t listen to rap music,” Martinez said.
“(The victim) then told them that he could listen to any kind of music he liked,” Martinez said.
The teen struck the victim in the face as the other youth encouraged the attack, police said. The beaten man escaped and contacted police. He later identified the teen, Martinez said. The teen was then booked into the Juvenile Detention Center.
The state attorney’s office will review the charges.
Source: Florida Today