couple charged with civil rights violations

Last week in California, attorneys for the U.S. Department of Justice announced that a federal grand jury returned a two-count indictment charging a couple, Georgia and Joseph Silva, with federal civil rights violations for assaulting an Indian American couple in July 2007: Lake Tahoe attack draws federal civil rights indictment.

According to the press statement from the Department of Justice, the Silvas committed a bias-motivated assault on the couple at a public beach in South Lake Tahoe. They first confronted the victims verbally, using derogatory racial and ethnic slurs, then assaulted the couple, including striking one of the victims with a shoe and then hitting the other repeatedly in the head.

At the hearing, the judge sentenced Georgia Silva to one year in jail, and Joseph Silva to six months in jail and three years' probation.

Prosecutors initially tried to add a hate-crime enhancement to the case, but th judge found the incident didn't fit the legal definition of a hate crime and dropped the enhancement last summer. I still don't quite understand how this is possible. You mean to tell me they just happened to be shouting racial slurs Vishal Wadhwa when they were kicking him in the face?

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