Nine months after a Black teenager had his teeth smashed out at a Michigan beach, the man who pummeled his face with a bike chain admitted in federal court that his actions were about hate, attacking the teen because of his race.
Lee Mouat, 43, of Newport, Michigan, faces up to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty Tuesday to willfully causing bodily injury to an 18-year-old because of the teen’s race. He entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Stephen J. Murphy, III.
The incident happened at Sterling State Park in Monroe, where Mouat confronted a group of Black teenagers, including the victim, Devin Freelon Jr., 18.
Court records show that before Mouat pulled out the bike chain, he told Freelon that Blacks weren’t welcome at the beach and that Black lives don’t matter.
The plea agreement, court records and police statements show how the incident unfolded on June 6.
It was about 7:45 p.m. when Freelon heard an unfamiliar man yelling a racial slur in the beach parking lot.
Freelon was retrieving a portable speaker from a vehicle while Mouat yelled racial slurs at his two friends and then started walking toward Freelon, eventually pulling out a bike lock and striking him in the face with it.
According to multiple witnesses, Mouat was upset about the teens playing music, and was making racial comments about the teens as he walked toward the park with his family.
One witness said they heard Mouat say, “I wish someone would say something to me so I can beat them.”