New hate crime charges filed in Florida MLK confrontation
MIAMI (AP) — An armed white man who got into a traffic confrontation with a group of black teenagers protesting housing inequality on Martin Luther King Day is now facing hate crime charges.
The Miami-Dade County state attorney’s office said Tuesday in a news release that 51-year-old Mark Bartlett is charged with three counts of aggravated assault with prejudice and two firearms counts. The charges are brought under a law allowing enhanced hate crime penalties when a crime is motivated by prejudice.
Cellphone video shows Bartlett carrying a handgun and yelling racial epithets at the teenagers blocking traffic in downtown Miami. Bartlett’s girlfriend was also involved but not charged.
The protest involved potential loss of affordable housing in the impoverished Liberty City neighborhood.
Bartlett’s lawyer didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.