Florida man charged with hate crime after yelling racial slurs, waving gun at black protesters

A Florida man has reportedly been charged with a hate crime after a video emerged showing him pulling out a gun and yelling racial slurs at a group of African-Americans participating in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle made the announcement in a statement seen by ABC News on Tuesday.

{mosads}Prosecutors reportedly said that Mark Bartlett, who is white, was handed the charges following the completion of several final interviews and witness statements. He had previously been charged with carrying a concealed firearm.

The 51-year-old now reportedly faces three counts of aggravated assault with prejudice, one count of improper exhibition of a firearm and one count of carrying a concealed firearm. 

His charges stem from an incident last month, during which he was captured on video wielding a handgun while repeatedly yelling racial slurs at a group of African-American protesters participating in an anti-gun violence event.

“Get in front of my car, you f—ing piece of s—. N—— suck,” Bartlett could be seen yelling at one point in the viral footage captured. He then went on to exit the vehicle while continuing to yell racial slurs at the protesters and brandishing a handgun.

Deante Joseph, one of the teens who were involved in the encounter, told a local ABC station at the time that Bartlett had “pointed the gun at me first [from] inside his car. He told me to come to the car. I said, ‘No, sir. No, sir. I’m not coming.’”

“He said, ‘Black n—-r. You black n—-r. Get away from my car. Get away from my car.’ We were holding up signs for housing. That’s all we were doing,” the 18-year-old continued.

Bartlett said he only pulled out his gun during the ordeal in efforts to protect his girlfriend, who was also present during the incident. 

“All I see is 15 people running across the street toward my girlfriend — over the median, toward my girlfriend,” Bartlett told the local ABC station. “My first reaction is, I have a gun on me. Whether I have a gun on me or not, I’m running to see and to protect my family. I had a gun though. It wasn’t loaded. I ran out there.”

“You can see I never pointed it. I never threatened anybody. I just needed it in case something were to happen,” he continued.

Since the encounter, five protesters from the event have filed a lawsuit against Bartlett over the incident, according to ABC News.

Attorneys representing Bartlett reportedly said in a statement that they were “disappointed the State Attorney has succumbed to the political pressure rather than obeying the tenets of the law” following the Tuesday announcement.

“Clearly this mob of people who were commandeering traffic, and taunting passengers, while wearing masks and gloves, were not peacefully protesting — they were not peacefully doing anything,” they added. “They were committing multiple crimes for which the State Attorney is not holding them accountable.”

Tags Florida Hate crime

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