Witnesses say Michigan man's bike lock attack on black teenager was racially motivated

Published: Jun. 8, 2020 at 9:22 PM EDT
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A Newport, Michigan man sits behind bars, charged with ethnic intimidation.

The 42-year-old man is accused of beating a black teenager with a bike lock.

Several people are protesting against what they say was a racist attack on a black teenager.

"I would say that he made it clear to everyone what this world looks like and what 18-year-old boys are basically liable to experience" said the victim’s cousin Adrianna Howerton-Lee.

The Monroe County Sheriff's office says 18-year-old Devin Freelon was attacked by 42-year-old Lee Mouat. It happened at Sterling State Park on Saturday.

Investigators say the suspect was intoxicated and screamed racial slurs at the teen. They claim Mouat attacked him with a bike lock that had a metal chain.

"He had the weapon behind his back. Once he was close enough to my cousin is when he hit him across the face," said Howerton-Lee

Devin is missing teeth, suffered serious injuries to his face and is supposed to graduate in four days.

Detectives say the teen does not know Lee Mouat. He's charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder, felonious assault and ethnic intimidation.

"I wouldn’t have anything to say to him. I can’t even imagine being around someone filled with so much hate."

The family is asking any witness to turn over video to investigators