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A California man has been charged with a hate crime for attacking a transgender woman with his skateboard.
Johnny Santos Moreno, 23, of Costa Mesa, Calif., was charged with a felony count of assault with a deadly weapon, a felony count of violation of civil rights with violent injury, and dissuading a witness by force. He also faces a potential bias enhancement for allegedly targeting the victim because of her gender identity.
According to prosecutors, on March 11, Moreno began hurling homophobic slurs at the victim before using his skateboard to hit her repeatedly. He also threatened a passing motorist who witnessed the attack and called Costa Mesa police.
According to Orange County jail records, Moreno, who pleaded not guilty to the charges against him at his arraignment, is being held on $58,000 bail.
If convicted of the charges, he faces a maximum sentence of 8 years in state prison, according to CBS Los Angeles.
He is next scheduled to appear in court on March 26 for a pretrial hearing.
“No one should have to live in the shadow of fear that they will be targeted and physically attacked because of the way they dress, speak, behave, or who they love,” Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said in a statement.
“Our differences — whether the color of our skin, our sexuality, or our religion — should be causes for the celebration of our diversity, not targets on our backs for haters to mock, deride, harass, and harm us,” Spitzer continued. “Those who engage in hate-motivated crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law here in Orange County.”
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