North Carolina man convicted of hate crime charges in 2 separate confrontations

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina man was convicted Thursday on federal hate crime charges after a jury found he attacked his Hispanic neighbor and shouted racial slurs at a Black driver in separate confrontations about a year apart.

In October 2021, Marian Hudak, 52, yelled insults at his Hispanic neighbor before tackling and punching the man, federal prosecutors said in a news release Thursday announcing the conviction.

They said Hudak also accosted a Black man he encountered while driving in 2022.

After telling the man to “come here, boy,” Hudak got out of his vehicle and punched the man’s driver’s side window multiple times, prosecutors said. When the victim fled, Hudak chased him to his home, continued shouting racial slurs and threatened to shoot and kill him, according to the news release.

FBI investigators found a Ku Klux Klan flag, a racist publication and Nazi memorabilia in Hudak’s residence.

Officials said witnesses also testified at trial that Hudak frequently made anti-Hispanic comments and harassed minority drivers in and around Concord, a suburb of Charlotte.

Hudak was criminally charged in June.

“It’s one thing to use racial slurs and harbor the KKK’s flag, but carrying out acts of violence fueled by naked racial animus and hatred violates the law and core principles of our democracy,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “All community members should be able to live in and move about their neighborhoods without fear of attack because of how they look or where they are from.”

Hudak is set to be sentenced on May 1.

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