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Hate crime charge 'inappropriate,' lawyer for teen accused of beating Detroit driver says

Lawyer says teenager shouldn't be charged with hate crime because beating wasn't planned.
By Danielle Haynes Follow @DanielleHaynes1 Contact the Author   |   April 17, 2014 at 9:18 PM

DETROIT, April 17 (UPI) -- The lawyer for a 16-year-old boy accused of instigating an attack on a Detroit driver, who got out of his car to check on a 10-year-old boy he struck, said calling the incident a hate crime isn't appropriate.

A mob of 10 to 15 people attacked Steve Utash, 54, on April 2 after he struck a 10-year-old boy while driving on Detroit's east side.

Police say the teen suspect instigated the beating, which put Utash in a coma.

The black teenager faces juvenile charges of assault with intent to do great bodily harm and ethnic intimidation because he allegedly told police he attacked Utash because he was white.

The teen's lawyer doesn't agree with the hate crime charge because he said it wasn't planned.

“A hate crime to me is burning a cross on somebody’s lawn because of their race or color,” said attorney Solomon Radner.

Judge Jerome Cavanagh set a trial date of June 23-25 and ordered the teen be held on $400,000 bail.

[Detroit Free-Press]

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