Black man beaten by fists and an axe handle in 'racially motivated' attack outside Florida Dollar General
Police car lights (Shutterstock)

Two men attacked a Black man in the parking lot of a Florida Family Dollar, using their fists and an axe handle while using racial slurs, the Bradenton Herald reports.

The victim was sent to the hospital, and now both men have been charged with a hate crime in what prosecutors described as a "racially motivated" attack, which occurred on Nov. 17.

Robert Lashley, 52, pleaded guilty to the charge on Tuesday, Oct. 4, and Roy Lamar Lashley plans to plead guilty at a hearing scheduled for Oct. 17.

“Acts of violence against anyone because of their race or ethnicity are abhorrent,” U.S. Attorney Roger B. Handberg, of the Middle District of Florida, said in a news release. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to ensure that such crimes are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

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Roy Lamar Lashley claimed that the victim pushed him as they crossed paths at the entrance of the store, saying that “that [racist slur] needs to be taught a lesson.” As the Herald points out, surveillance footage shows the victim never came into physical contact with Roy Lamar Lashley.

The two men then followed the victim into the parking lot and attacked him. In both of the men’s plea agreements, they admitted to attacking the victim because of his race.

“Hate crimes are not only an attack on the victim, these crimes threaten and intimidate entire communities,” Sherri E. Onks, FBI special agent in charge for the Jacksonville Field Division, said in the news release.

“Because of their wide-ranging impact, investigating and preventing hate crimes is a top priority for the FBI and we will stop at nothing to protect the public from these heinous crimes,” Onks added.