Four men were sentenced Thursday for committing hate crimes in response to President Obama’s victory in last year’s presidential election, the Justice Department said today. The combined total sentence was more than 24 years in prision.
After Obama was announced as the victor on election night, the defendants set out to assault blacks in Staten Island, N.Y., because they believed the victims had voted for Obama, the government said. In the course of the evening, the assailants assaulted a black teenager, a black man and a third individual they believed was black.
“By their own admission these defendants, motivated by racial hatred and a desire to punish those they believed had voted for Barack Obama, participated in violent attacks that nearly killed one of their victims,” FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York field office, Joseph M. Demarest Jr., said in a statement.
U.S. District Judge Carol B. Amon of Brooklyn, N.Y. handed down the following sentences:
- Ralph Nicoletti, 108 months in prison;
- Bryan Garaventa, 60 months;
- Michael Contreras, 55 months; and
- Brian Carranza, 70 months.
The case was prosecuted by Civil Rights Division Special Litigation Counsel Kristy L. Parker and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Pamela K. Chen and Margo K. Brodie for the Eastern District of New York.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Loretta King for the Civil Rights Division said in a statement: “It is appalling that such hateful acts of racially motivated violence continue to persist in our nation. These sentences should remind those inspired to violence by hate that they will be brought to justice.” U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Benton J. Campbell added: “The significant sentences imposed by the court reflect the seriousness of the defendants’ shocking and deplorable conduct.”