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New hate crime charges filed in Florida MLK confrontation

MIAMI – An armed white man that came in a traffic confrontation with a group of black youth protesting housing inequality on Martin Luther King Day is now a hate crime against.

The Miami-Dade County state attorney’s office said Tuesday in a press release that the 51-year-old Mark Bartlett is charged with three counts of aggravated assault with prejudice, and two firearms counts. The costs are set on the basis of a law allowing enhanced hate crime penalties when a crime is motivated by prejudice.

Mobile video shows Bartlett’s carrying a gun and yelling racial epithets at the teens blocking traffic in the centre of Miami. Bartlett’s girlfriend was also involved, but not charged.

The protest involved the potential for loss of affordable housing in the impoverished Liberty City neighborhood.

Bartlett’s lawyer does not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

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