Colorado man pleads guilty to hate crime charges after stabbing Black man

A Colorado man this week pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime for stabbing a Black man in a 2019 attack. 

Nolan Levi Strauss, 27, pleaded guilty to a hate crime involving an attempt to kill, according to a Thursday statement from the Department of Justice.

The victim walked into an Arby’s restaurant in Ontario, Ore., in December 2019 to provide documents for a job application. He was sitting in a booth in the restaurant when Strauss entered and approached him.

Strauss stabbed the man in the neck twice and attempted to continue stabbing him. The victim was able to escape to the other side of the restaurant, where he collapsed, according to the Thursday statement.

A maintenance worker was able to secure Strauss’s hands behind him with a belt until law enforcement officials arrived. 

The worker asked Strauss why he stabbed the victim, to which Strauss replied, “Because he was Black, and I don’t like Black people.” Strauss also later told law enforcement that he tried to kill the man because of his race.

The victim had to undergo emergency surgery. 

“The defendant is being held accountable for his vicious, racially-motivated attack on a Black man who was targeted because of the color of his skin,” Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Kristen Clarke said in the Thursday statement. “Racially motivated acts of violence must not be tolerated in our country today.”

Strauss faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, according to the Department of Justice. He will be sentenced on Sept. 9.

Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug for the District of Oregon said in the Thursday statement that “hate crimes not only hurt victims, but spread fear across entire communities.” 

“This crime serves as a horrifying reminder that racism and bigotry still exist and threaten the safety of communities of color,” Asphaug said.

Tags Hate crime Kristen Clarke Racism

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