An Ohio man has been charged with a federal hate crime for viciously attacking a man who he believed to be Jewish, only to later learn the man does not in fact practice to the religion.
Cincinnati’s WCPO reported that in February 2017, 32-year-old Izmir Koch was outside a local bar when he shouted to the gathered crowd asking if anyone was Jewish. The victim responded that he was, and Koch began punching him in the head and kicking him, eventually bruising one of the man’s ribs and fracturing his eye socket.
According to U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman, the victim was not even Jewish — but because Koch believed he was, a federal grand jury indicted him for a single hate crime count.
“It does not matter under the law whether the assailant is correct in thinking that the victim is Jewish or Christian or Muslim or any religion,” the federal prosecutor said. “If that’s the basis, if that’s the reason for the physical assault, that’s a federal crime.”
If convicted, Koch faces up to 10 years in prison.