Prosecutor: Beating of White Motorist Was a Hate Crime

Trending: A 16-year-old juvenile has been charged under Michigan's hate-crime law in the beating of 54-year-old Steven Utash.

Steve Utash is pictured with his three children, who have established a Go Fund Me site that had raised $154,825 by mid-day Thursday, April 10.
Steve Utash is pictured with his three children, who have established a Go Fund Me site that had raised $154,825 by mid-day Thursday, April 10.

By Beth Dalbey

Detroit, Michigan – Race played a role in the April 2 attack on Steven Utash, who was severely beaten by an angry mob when he stopped to assist a boy he accidentally hit with his pickup, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said Thursday.

One of five individuals charged in the brutal beating, a minor whose name was not released by authorities, has been charged under Michigan’s ethnic intimidation statute. He also has been charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Utash, who is white, was beat by a group of 12 black men.

Though the juvenile was charged under Michigan’s ethnic intimidation, Worthy said charges against four adults do not meet the criteria for an ethnic intimidation charge, the prosecutor said.

“As in all cases with multiple defendants we must evaluate each person’s actions individually to assess their alleged criminal conduct,” Worthy told the Free Press. “In the case of the 16-year-old charged as a juvenile, we can prove beyond a reasonable doubt the crimes of assault with intent to do great bodily harm and ethnic intimidation.”

Detroit police initially said there was no evidence to support the attack was racially motivated, but this week opened the door to include the possibility that it was a hate crime. “The issue of race is being looked at as a possible motive,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig said.

A fifth suspect, Latrez Cummings, 19, was arrested Wednesday and charged with assault with intent to murder and assault with intent to do great bodily harm in the attack. Three others face the same charges: Bruce Edward Wimbush Jr., 17; Wonzey Saffold, 30; and James Deontae Davis, 24.

Utash remains in a medically induced coma but is healing, members of his family said. He doesn’t have medical insurance and could remain in the hospital for up to six months.

By 2 p.m. Thursday, a Go Fund Me site had raised $154,825 – more than three times the goal established when the fund was set up Friday.

dwayne roberson April 17, 2014 at 09:04 PM
Eerie, Grumpy got it right. When you show wisdom as you have in your posts it is worth much more than "school smarts" Lots of educated folks are fools. There is nothing more hateful than killing or trying to kill. Race has no place in why. Honest and equal punishment is the issue. We can not pretend we know what a criminal is thinking. I like you and Grumpy. Dr King would be pleased to see this kind of colorblind progress.
Dan Cox April 17, 2014 at 09:12 PM
Its a simple thing... when they come to kill you, kill them instead. Eliminate the problem and its seed will not be a problem in the future. Others like the killers, learn that it is not in their best interest to be killers and they find a way to cope with their ills.
dwayne roberson April 17, 2014 at 09:34 PM
Dan I appreciated your post about being able to defend yourself for 5-15 minutes til the police arrives That mindset does impact the boldness of the criminal vision. That being said, when in Detroit allow for more than 15 minute police response time. You will need additional rounds as Detroit has long been bankrupt and the police may be on the way for a very long time.
Dan Cox April 17, 2014 at 09:56 PM
dwayne roberson, Yes, that is why standard capacity 33 round magazines are so good for Glock Pistols. Even my 9 year old Son says... you can never have too much ammo!
Grumpy Old Man April 18, 2014 at 07:54 AM
@Dan Cox - I agree with your posts. Particularly the last couple. We are just getting concealed carry permits issued in Illinois, much to the distress of our unbeloved Mayor and Governor, and hopefully it will have an impact on reducing crime. The real problem is that the media hypes all of the nuts, like the shooters at Columbine, Newton, etc. and hide the proper use by those who have stopped crimes (or belittle them or try to claim about how these incidents are so rarer than deaths caused by the accidental use by children [e.g. Bloomberg's new commercials], etc.). The central thing in this story is the black nurse who ran out with her gun and stopped the beating and probably saved the motorist's life without regard to his race. Funny, you didn't notice that in the Patch article - you had to hunt around, a link by a poster on the first Patch story on this subject went to a non patch source).


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