Man Charged with Possible Hate Crime Outside Los Angeles Synagogue

Tue 11th December, 2018 Criminal Law

A Seattle man has been charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon in connection to a possible hate crime that took place outside of a Los Angeles synagogue late last month. On November 23, Mohamed Abdi Mohamed, 32, rented a car in Seattle and drove to Los Angeles where he went past the Hancock Park synagogue. He shouted anti-Semitic slurs and other profanities at synagogue members leaving a service. Mohamed then pulled a U-turn in his vehicle, and allegedly barreled toward two men leaving the synagogue. They escaped unharmed and Mohamed attempted to flee. He crashed the vehicle shortly afterward and was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon with a hate crime enhancement.

A knife was found in the car alongside a copy of the Koran. Federal prosecutors may consider hate crime or domestic terror charges. His family claims that Mohamed has no ill will towards the Jewish community and has suffered from schizophrenia since at least 2015. He was seeking mental health treatment in Seattle but according to his family did not receive the care he needed. He has been held twice at mental health facilities in Washington state since 2016. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for December 10, and Mohamed is currently being held on $500,000 bail.

Hate Crime Enhancements

Under California law, the motive for committing a crime significantly factors into the charges and sentencing. The state’s hate crime statutes impose severe additional punishment if the reason behind the crime was motivated by hatred toward the victim’s disability, gender, nationality, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. Given the broad definitions of a hate crime, many people are wrongfully accused simply because the accused and the alleged victim are different races or religions.

Prosecutors also like to tack on hate crime enhancements whenever possible because the penalties are so much more significant, and it gives the prosecution more leverage in plea deal negotiations. Each count of a hate crime can mean an additional one, two, or three years behind bars depending on the offense. The hate crime enhancements are also on your criminal record and are accessible to anyone who may run a background check for a job or apartment. Extreme limitations are also placed on probation and parole if you are convicted of a hate crime enhancement. If you have been accused of a hate crime as part of your charges, it is critical that you hire an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights and begin building a defense against these charges.

Call My Office Today to speak to a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer

Hate crime enhancements are all too commonly added to crimes incorrectly, and the consequences of a hate crime conviction are severe. If you have been charged with a hate crime, you need an expert criminal defense attorney by your side. Call or contact us today in Los Angeles at the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler to discuss the details of your case.