U.S. District Judge Nancy Torresen felt sorry for Dusty Leo (30), who pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of committing a hate crime after he sneaked up behind a Black man at a 7-Eleven in Maine and punched him so hard that his jaw shattered.
While Judge Torresen gave Maurice Diggins, Leo's partner in hate crime, a 10-year sentence, she sentenced Leo to just three years.
"It is very clear to me that Mr. Diggins acted because he hates Black people," Torresen said. "He is a white supremacist. He has tattoos all over him saying the same. For you, it appears the motivation is much more complicated. First of all, I know you were intoxicated. Secondly, you were totally in the thrall of Maurice Diggins. You sought approval. You wanted to make him proud, and apparently you did make him proud when you pounded the face of an unsuspecting Black man who did you no harm."
From the Portland Press Herald:
Diggins and Leo were outside a bar in Portland's Old Port shortly before 1 a.m. Diggins hit a Black man and broke his jaw, and also used racial slurs during the attack. The two then drove to Biddeford and stopped at a 7-Eleven. Diggins confronted a Black man who was outside the convenience store, while Leo approached the man from behind and hit him. That man also suffered a broken jaw. When the man fled, Leo initially chased the man on foot, and then the two men tried to follow him in their truck while yelling racial epithets.
Both victims underwent emergency surgery and had their jaws wired shut for weeks as part of their recovery. They testified at Diggins' trial about the surprise attacks, and one said he has since moved out of Biddeford because he no longer feels safe there.
As Brainspore said in the BBS, "how is 'beating up innocent Black people to earn the approval of white supremacists' any less abhorrent than 'beating up innocent Black people because one is a white supremacist?'"