2 Kansans charged with federal hate crimes for attacking Somalis

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Two men from Dodge City have been charged with federal hate crimes for attacking three Somali men because of their race and national origin.

Acting U.S. Attorney Tom Beall of the District of Kansas and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said 31-year-old Omar Cantero Martinez and 24-year-old Armando Sotelo have each been charged with three counts of causing bodily injury to a victim because of actual and perceived race and national origin.

Beall said the charges are filed under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which criminalizes willfully causing bodily injury to any person because of that person’s actual or perceived race, color, religion or national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

The indictment alleges that on June 19, 2015, Martinez and Sotelo caused bodily injury to three Somali men who were lawfully present in the United States and residing in Dodge City. The attackers are alleged to have used a broken glass bottle in the assault against two of the men.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000.

Indictments are merely allegations of criminal conduct, and all defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The case is being investigated by the FBI and the Dodge City Police.

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