A Turkish Muslim man, Izmir Koch, is facing federal hate crime charges after beating he gave to a victim who had claimed to be Jewish. The 32-year-old Koch yelled outside a restaurant in Greater Cincinnati asking whether anyone within hearing was Jewish. When the victim responded affirmatively, Koch punched the man in the head and continued to hit and kick him on the ground. According to the indictment, the victim suffered a fractured eye socket and bruised ribs. The attack occurred on March 4, 2017.

According to U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman, the victim was not a Jew in reality. But because Koch believed he was, a federal jury passed down an indictment on one count of committing a hate crime. “Physically attacking someone because you think he’s Jewish—or Christian or Muslim or any other religion—is a federal crime,” said Glassman in a March 21, 2018, press release. “It does not matter under the law whether the assailant is correct in thinking that the victim is Jewish or Christian or Muslim or any religion,” Glassman said. “If that’s the basis, if that’s the reason for the physical assault, that’s a federal crime.”

Koch was already facing two counts of felonious assault in 2016, of which one involved a deadly weapon. One month after the incident in Cincinnati, he and several family members were found guilty of that assault that had taken place outside his trucking company in Dayton, Ohio. Koch and his two brothers emigrated from the former Soviet Union. They later established a business that was proclaimed in the Dayton Daily News in 2014: “They’re paying taxes on the property and created jobs for the area right here.” 
 

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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