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Man Charged With Hate Crime For Saying He Hates White People, Stabbing A White Man

By Mae Rice in News on May 24, 2016 4:23PM

Leroy Willis, 45, of Roseland (Chicago Police Department)

A 45-year-old man faces several charges, including a felony hate crime charge, for stabbing and attempting to rob a man on a Loop bridge late Sunday night, police said.

Police said only that Leroy Willis of Roseland face a felony hate crime charge for "[uttering] a
derogatory racial statement" during an attempted robbery on the Washington Street Bridge. However, his victim, a 49-year-old white man, gave the Tribune a bit more detail, reporting that his attacker said "I hate 'expletive' white people. Give me your wallet." (We believe the expletive was "fucking.")

Willis has also been charged with a felony count of aggravated battery and aggravated attempted robbery, police said. He was found and charged promptly because his victim—high-rise security guard Todd Light, the Sun-Times reports—ended up detaining his attacker until police arrived.

Light told the Sun-Times that Willis appeared "out of his mind," and said that once Light fought back and got his attacker on the ground, "he started apologizing to me and explaining about his dead mother."

We've reached out to Light for more detail on the incident, and the ACLU for more historical and legal context on hate crime charges against white people, which strike us as unusual. We will update this post when we hear back.