An Ohio man has been indicted by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Ohio on a charge of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
According to the indictment, on or about Feb. 4, 2017, outside of a restaurant located in Cincinnati, Ohio, Izmir Koch, 32, willfully caused bodily injury to a person because of that person’s perceived religion. The indictment alleges that Koch hit and kicked an individual (Victim-1), after Victim-1 represented that he was Jewish. Victim-1 is alleged to have suffered bodily injury as a result of the assault, including a fractured orbital floor.
WCPO reported: The victim stepped outside to smoke a cigarette and meet a friend. Koch yelled out asking if anyone was Jewish, the indictment says, and the victim responded he was.
Koch punched him in the head and continued to hit and kick him while he was on the ground, the indictment says. The victim suffered bruised ribs and a fractured eye socket.
As it turned out, the victim wasn’t even really Jewish, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman said.
If convicted, Koch faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both. An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.