Two Toledo, Ohio men were sentenced today to prison for beating an African-American stranger they saw on the street, announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Acting U.S. Attorney David A. Sierleja and Special Agent in Charge Stephen D. Anthony of the FBI’s Cleveland Division.
Robert Paschalis, 25, was sentenced to two years in prison while Charles Butler was sentenced to seven years in prison. Both men pleaded guilty in November to violating the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
According to documents filed in connection with the case, on May 18, 2016, Paschalis and Butler drove past the victim, A.W., on the street while A.W. was unloading items from his truck. The two men circled back, got out of their own truck and began attacking A.W. while yelling racial slurs. Butler grabbed a broom from the back of A.W.’s truck and struck A.W. with it multiple times. Paschalis later admitted that the beating occurred because A.W. is African American. Paschalis said that, unlike Butler, he had not “earned” his swastika tattoo yet.
The beating stopped only when two off-duty police officers happened on the scene and pulled Butler and Paschalis away. A.W. suffered an orbital fracture and damage to his right eye. Butler later posted on Facebook that the attack was “in the name of the White Race.”
“This sentence sends a stern message to those who practice and advocate racial violence,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Wheeler. “Robust prosecution of hate crimes is a priority for the Justice Department, and we will continue to vigorously enforce these laws.”
“Attacks like these have no place in our society,” Acting U.S. Attorney Sierleja said. “The victim in this case was minding his own business when he was jumped by two racists. They deserve the prison sentences they received today.”
“These individuals engaged in a violent assault against another person based on his race and are now being held accountable,” said Special Agent in Charge Anthony. “The FBI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure hate crimes are thoroughly investigated and prosecuted to the greatest extent of the law.”
This case was investigated by the FBI’s Toledo Resident Agency, in cooperation with the Toledo Police Department and the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Freeman of the Northern District of Ohio, Trial Attorney Dana Mulhauser of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Miller.