Police in Jacksonville, Florida have charged three men in connection with the killing of a Black man. Nineteen-year-old Ryan Nichols was charged with second-degree murder and altering records of physical evidence yesterday (May 4) while 18-year-old Daniel DeGuardia and 21-year-old Holden Dodson have been charged with accessory after the fact, according to ABC News. All three men are white.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office was first alerted to the unnamed Black man’s death on Tuesday (May 2). They found the victim lying on the ground near a dumpster with an apparent gunshot wound. Authorities found multiple shell casings in the area and noted that the dumpster had “multiple bullet defects,” per a police report. The report also detailed how a suspect was seen chasing the victim and approaching him as he was trying to hide behind the dumpster.
Local news outlet First Coast News reported that law enforcement believes there’s no evidence of a hate crime in the case. But Circuit Court Judge Kim Sadler told DeGuardia and Dodson yesterday that their charges might by upgraded to hate crimes based simply on the fact that it involved three white men allegedly ganging up on and killing a Black man.
“I’m not the state. It’s up to them, of course, what charges they bring,” Sadler told First Coast News of the case. “But it was just a bunch of white guys chasing a Black guy, and I didn’t see any reason for it.”
In Florida, hate crimes are defined as heinous acts that involve “prejudice based on the race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, homeless status, or advanced age of the victim.” Nichols was ordered to be held without bond. DeGuardia’s bond, meanwhile, was set at $503,000; and Dodson had his set at $203,000.
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