An Illinois man is facing felony hate crime charges for reportedly assaulted and threatened to lynch a security guard.
Erik Lewis was taken into custody on last Friday following a car crash, in Oak Brook, Illinois. Authorities say that when Lewis was in booking at the Oak Brook Police Department he became combative, leading officers to bring him to Good Samaritan Hospital in Downer Grove, Illinois, to detoxify.
The 21-year-old allegedly was belligerent when he arrived and became verbally abusive and violent with hospital staff. At one point, he used a racial slur against and slapped a security officer and threatened he was “going to hang him from a tree,” police say.
Lewis was later charged with a felony hate crime and aggravated assault. DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin argued racism is not acceptable, especially as the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The charges against Mr. Lewis are very disturbing,” Berlin said in a press release. “Hate Crimes have no place in civilized society, particularly in times such as these when we should all be coming together to help each other. My office has zero tolerance for the type of behavior alleged in this case and anyone who exhibits such behavior will be charged and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Lewis was released on bond this past Sunday. His arraignment is scheduled for April 27.