5 Men Charged With Ethnic Intimidation, Assault 1-06-2011 - WNEM TV 5

5 Men Charged With Ethnic Intimidation, Assault 1-06-2011

Five men were charged Thursday with felonious assault and ethnic intimidation related to an incident that occurred on Miller Road in Flint Township just before the new year.
According to a police report, a group of five white and Hispanic men pulled up in a van in a commercial parking lot just west of Interstate 75 and made derogatory hand gestures and verbal comments to a group of black customers who were standing outside a restaurant on Dec. 30.
The van then pulled into an adjacent parking lot and blocked in a vehicle that was parked. Police said the other vehicle was being driven by a black man who was a relative to the other customers who had just been verbally assaulted.
The report said the group of five white and Hispanic men then got out of their van and began yelling racial slurs and physical threats at the black man and his relatives. Two of the men from the van made comments and gestures indicating that they were carrying guns and threatened to shoot and kill the black man.
Police said one of them also pulled out a knife and made physical threats to the victim who said he believed he was about to be killed. When one of the black females called 911 on her cell phone, the assailants got back into their van and headed east down Miller Road, according to the report.
According to witness accounts, prior to getting back into the van, the driver attempted to bend down the corner of the van’s license plate.
Police were dispatched to the area and found a van fitting the appropriate description being filled with gasoline at a station east of I-75 on Miller Road.
The van’s passengers and its driver fit the victims’ and eyewitness’ descriptions and all five were arrested for felonious assault and ethnic intimidation, police said.
“This sort of behavior is deplorable,” said Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton. “There is no place for it in out community and it will not be tolerated.”
Felonious assault carries a penalty of up to four years in prison and ethnic intimidation is punishable by up to two years in prison.
A pre-trial hearing will be scheduled for next week with a preliminary examination in 67th District Court on January 12th.
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