Maine Attorney General Janet Mills announced Tuesday that her office has filed a civil complaint in York County Superior Court against two Biddeford men who allegedly violently assaulted an African-American man in April and used racial epithets outside a 7-Eleven convenience store.
Dusty Leo, 27, and Maurice Diggins, 34, were arrested at the time and charged with aggravated assault for the alleged incident, Mills said in a news release.
According to Mills, as the alleged victim walked to a 7-Eleven store near his home on April 15, the two defendants, who the man had never met, approached in a pickup truck and repeatedly used a racial epithet to address him.
Leo allegedly punched the defendant in the side of his head, breaking his jaw, and Diggins then allegedly hit him in the back of his head, throwing him to the pavement, according to Mills.
The man got up and ran, while Leo and Diggins allegedly chased him in their truck until he escaped by running into an alley on foot, Mills said.
“All Mainers should be shocked by this brutal race-based assault,” Mills said in the release. “This attack has shattered the victim’s sense of safety. No person should be afraid to walk to a store for fear of being attacked due to the color of his or her skin. We filed this action to protect not simply this victim but any person of color who might be targeted by these defendants.”
The Maine Civil Rights Act was enacted in 1992 and prohibits the use of violence, the threat of violence or property damage against any person motivated by that person’s race, color, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation. Any violation of an injunction under the act is a Class D crime, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.
The case was investigated by the Biddeford Police Department.
This story appears through a media sharing agreement with Bangor Daily News.