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Juvenile Charged Under Hate-Crime Statute in Utash Beating

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said the state "can prove beyond a reasonable doubt the crimes of assault with intent to do great bodily harm and ethnic intimidation." Others have not been similarly charged.

Steve Utash is pictured with his three children, who have established a Go Fund Me site that had raised $154,825 by mid-day Thursday, April 10.
Steve Utash is pictured with his three children, who have established a Go Fund Me site that had raised $154,825 by mid-day Thursday, April 10.

Race played a role in the April 2 attack on Steven Utash, the Clinton Township man who was severely beaten by an angry mob when he stopped to assist a boy he accidentally hit with his pickup, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said Thursday.

One of five individuals charged in the brutal beating, a minor whose name was not released by authorities, has been charged under Michigan’s ethnic intimidation statute. He also has been charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Utash, who is white, was beat by a group of 12 black men.

Though the juvenile was charged under Michigan’s ethnic intimidation, Worthy said charges against four adults do not meet the criteria for an ethnic intimidation charge, the prosecutor said.

“As in all cases with multiple defendants we must evaluate each person’s actions individually to assess their alleged criminal conduct,” Worthy told the Free Press. “In the case of the 16-year-old charged as a juvenile, we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt the crimes of assault with intent to do great bodily harm and ethnic intimidation.”

Detroit police initially said there was no evidence to support the attack was racially motivated, but this week opened the door to include the possibility that it was a hate crime. “The issue of race is being looked at as a possible motive,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig said.

A fifth suspect, Latrez Cummings, 19, was arrested Wednesday and charged with assault with intent to murder and assault with intent to do great bodily harm in the attack. Three others face the same charges: Bruce Edward Wimbush Jr., 17; Wonzey Saffold, 30; and James Deontae Davis, 24.

Utash remains in a medically induced coma but is healing, members of his family said. He doesn’t have medical insurance and could remain in the hospital for up to six months.

By 2 p.m. Thursday, a Go Fund Me site had raised $154,825 – more than three times the goal established when the fund was set up Friday.


Love All April 12, 2014 at 08:46 AM
Greg, I'd suggest that the prosecutor has a bit more factual evidence than you or I. If you hope to get a conviction for a crime,, you cannot do so without evidence. The woman that helped stop the attack was right there as it happened. I'm sure her testimony led to the specific charges against the specific people involved. Not all will be charged with a "hate crime",, only those that fit the technical description.
Kate Smith April 12, 2014 at 03:03 PM
The definition of a Hate Crime is: a crime motivated by Racial, Sexual, or other Prejudice, typically one involving Violence. So if this crime was not motivated by the fact that Utash was White or the people he represents, the Caucasian race - why was he savagely beaten for no reason - If it was not racially motivated? Newly elected Mayor Duggan & Council Member Brenda Jones are asking for calm but how long do they think John Q. Public is going to remain calm in the face of continual Unfair treatment ( i.e. Reverse Discrimination )? Every white person knows this was a hate crime & we have no Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton here for Us. Our family members are scared to death to even go into the city of Detroit. And we tell our family members forget about flying in Detroit Metro Airport to visit us because it is rated the most One of the Dangerous Cities in America. Do the right thing, the one you were elected to do. We are praying you make a unbiased decision so Detroit will really start making the recovery needed. Do the Right Thing!
Luther's Fan April 12, 2014 at 03:16 PM
Kate, Metro Detroit airport is actually in Romulus, so you wouldn't be in the D.
tamarya April 12, 2014 at 05:48 PM
If he hit a black child then i agree racial, however if he hit a white child then it is because he hit the kid, even if black it could be he hit the kid and they had a problem with him doing that. Even though he hit a child that was unattended in the rd is no reason to have the crap beaten out of him. An accident is an accident, like i said earlier if this is how people react then especially when hitting a child police or the child's family should not question if someone commits a hit and run.
Luther's Fan April 12, 2014 at 06:59 PM
The news has reported that the kids were jumping in and out of the street playing some kind of game. Apparently this is fun now; playing chicken with cars.

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