DAYTON — A federal grand jury has charged Izmir Koch, 32, of Huber Heights, with violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in an indictment unsealed March 22.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Angela L. Byers, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Division, announced the charges.
According to the indictment, on Feb. 4, 2017, Koch was outside a Cincinnati restaurant with others when he allegedly yelled out asking if anyone outside the restaurant was Jewish.
A victim responded that he was Jewish and it is alleged that Koch then ran to the victim and punched him in the head. When the victim fell to the ground, Koch and others continued hitting and kicking him.
The victim sustained injuries from the attack, including rib contusions and a fracture of his orbital floor.
Koch was charged with one count of committing a hate crime, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. He was arrested March 22 and appeared before US Magistrate Judge Stephanie K. Bowman.
“Physically attacking someone because you think he’s Jewish — or Christian or Muslim or any other religion — is a federal crime,” said Glassman. “This office prosecutes hate crimes.”
Glassman commended the investigation of this case by the FBI, as well as Assistant United States Attorney Megan Gaffney and Trial Attorney Gabriel Davis of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, who are prosecuting the case.
An indictment merely contains allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.