A 16-year-old juvenile will be tried as an adult in the Five Points beating case, 5th Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson said Wednesday. And he is seeking to charge two other juveniles in the case as adults.
Johnson also said he has spoken with U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles and asked his office to investigate whether the Five Points assault can be considered a hate crime.
South Carolina has no hate crime laws, but under federal law, a person can face charges if it can be proved he or she committed violence against someone because of race, religious, ethnic or sexual orientation motives. The FBI usually investigates such charges.
“I can’t confirm or deny the existence of an investigation, but I can tell you we take a very aggressive stance towards hate crimes, and it is our policy to investigate and examine any incident that is a potential hate crime,” Nettles said.
Both Johnson and Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott have said there is no evidence of a hate crime.