In early July, the St. Lucie County Sheriff Office arrested a man who allegedly attacked a member of the Islamic Center of Fort Pierce. According to a witness, during the assault, the attacker yelled “go back to your country.”
The witness said he was leaving a prayer session at the center located in the 1100 block of West Midway Road. He noticed another mosque member in the parking lot who had locked their keys in the trunk of their vehicle. The witness was walking over to help when a third man came from the back of the building. With no provocation, the third man attacked the mosque member, repeatedly punching him in the face.
The witness said later the attacker “was cursing, saying ‘Muslim this and Muslim that.’ He said go back to your country.”
After the assault, the attacker drove off in a truck. After questioning by deputies from the sheriff’s office, the victim was treated at Lawnwood Medical Center & Heart Institute and released.
Meanwhile, within minutes of the attack, police stopped a truck matching witness descriptions at Northwest Curtis Street and Southwest Prima Vista Boulevard in Port St. Lucie. After the driver was identified as the attacker, he was charged with felony battery. He was released after posting bail that same day.
A spokesman for the mosque believes the suspect should be charged with a hate crime for using what could be called racial slurs. But in a press release, the sheriff’s office has found no indication the attack was racially motivated. Upon hearing this, the witness countered, “I can tell what I heard. The sheriff wasn’t there.”
This case is one of many examples that clearly demonstrate why defendants need a Fort Pierce criminal attorney. Here are conflicting stories that could have a long-lasting impact on someone’s life. To start, a Fort Pierce criminal attorney will approach the case under the “innocent until proven guilty” edict, understanding the job is to secure the defendant’s freedom. If this is not possible, they push for the best possible outcome that doesn’t include jail time. In this matter, it would be therapy, anger management, substance abuse treatment or other program to help the defendant stay out of jail.
Most of all, a Fort Pierce criminal attorney would make sure that whatever this defendant was charged with – battery or a hate crime – the state would need to prove its case beyond shadow of doubt.