Five Teens Booked with Hate Crimes in French Quarter
NEW ORLEANS - Court documents show five teenagers were arrested Sept. 1 and booked with hate-crime charges after police said they fired pellet guns at a man in the French Quarter and yelled sexual and racist slurs at him.
The Times-Picayune reported 18-year-old George Brown, 19-year-old O'Na Reed and three juveniles were arrested after they harassed a man who was seated on the steps of his French Quarter house.
The victim told investigators he was sitting on his steps in the 1100 block of Burgundy Street around 11:30 p.m. when a car drove up, Criminal District Court records say.
The man told police people inside the car shouted sexual insults and racial slurs before firing pellet guns at him. The victim was struck several times and suffered cuts and bruises.
The man's race was not listed on the reports. All five of the suspects are black.
The victim called police after the incident, and an officer stopped a car that fit the description of the one used in the attack.
Officers said they found an air rifle and pistol and long with ammunition.
Police arrested all five occupants of the car. Brown, Reed and another teen were booked on charges of second-degree battery, felony hate crimes and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.
Two other juveniles were booked on second-degree battery and hate crime charges.
Robert Hjortsberg, an attorney representing one of the teens, Henry, said that his client was simply "in the wrong place, at the wrong time."
"She had no intention of being involved in any criminal activity," he said.
In Louisiana, hate crimes are defined as any offenses committed against person and property because of their actual or perceived race, age, gender, religious, color, creed, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, or ancestry.
It was not immediately clear whether other suspects in the case have attorneys.