SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A federal jury in San Jose on Friday convicted a man of a federal hate crime for attacking a Black man with a knife on a street in Santa Cruz last July, according to the FBI.
According to a release issued by the FBI, Santa Cruz resident Ole Hougen, 44, was convicted of willfully attempting to cause bodily injury by using a dangerous weapon because of a person’s actual or perceived race and color.READ MORE: Fire Erupts Again At Concord Church Complex Damaged By Blaze Last Week
The release said that according to evidence presented at trial, Hougen confronted a 29-year-old Black man who was crossing a street in Santa Cruz. He then took out a nine-inch knife and swiped multiple times at the man’s head, chest and stomach while yelling racial slurs at him.
As he was being arrested, Hougen also hurled racial taunts at a Santa Cruz officer who is Latino, prosecutors said in a complaint filed against him last September.READ MORE: Oakland Resumes 'Bulky Block Party' Trash Disposal Events To Stem Illegal Dumping
Previously, Hougen threatened and assaulted two Black men in incidents in 2014 and 2018, according to the complaint. Hougen was additionally on probation after pleading no contest to state charges in the 2018 assault.
Hougen is scheduled to be sentenced on July 26 and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, according to the FBI. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The verdict comes on the heels of a decision by the U.S. Attorney General to conduct a 30-day review of the Justice Department’s enforcement efforts to address hate-based violence and discrimination. The working group was assembled to make recommendations for improving hate crime and unlawful discrimination investigations and prosecutions.
“The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute bias-motivated crimes like this one in an effort to secure justice for victims of these crimes and the communities they are meant to target and intimidate,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela S. Karlan said in the release.MORE NEWS: A Surprise Hit, Filipino-Theme Home Movie Filmed in Daly City Spawns Sequel
“The FBI worked closely with the Santa Cruz Police Department to bring justice for this shocking, horrific attack,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig Fair. “The FBI will use all authority granted to us by federal law to investigate hate crimes meant to threaten and intimidate an entire community. Acts of hate and racism have no place here and will not be tolerated. I urge members of our community to report any hate incidents to local or federal law enforcement so we can bring offenders to justice.”