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Baton Rouge DA says no hate crime charges for racially motivated mob attack on family

Donald Dickerson

Original post: White family brutally beaten in mob attack because of their skin color.

A white male was viciously attacked and knocked unconscious at a Baton Rouge gas station. The suspect made racially charged comments to the victim. Two female accomplices then attacked the first victim’s wife and 14-year-old daughter. Baton Rouge police did not even arrest the two female suspects. They were given court date summonses for simple battery. They will most likely never show up for their court date.

Police only arrested Donald Ray Dickerson, a life-long criminal with a multitude of major convictions. District Attorney Hillar Moore III chastised police for letting the two female suspects leave the scene. The prosecutor seems to acknowledge that the attack was racially motivated, but says he has a better shot at getting a “habitual offender” conviction than a hate crime conviction.


East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Friday that he’ll prosecute Dickerson as a habitual offender, instead of hate crime charges.

Moore says Dickerson faces a much longer sentence under the habitual offender law and the victim supported his decision.

Under the state’s habitual offender law, Moore said a defendant can be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole when someone is convicted of four felonies — at least two of which are crimes of violence.

Dickerson, who had recently been released from federal prison at the time of the attack, has previously been convicted of purse snatching, carnal knowledge of a juvenile and armed robbery.

Online jail records didn’t list an attorney’s name.

Moore had considered charging Dickerson with a hate crime “enhancement” to second-degree battery because of the racial overtones of the attack. A hate crime conviction in Louisiana enhances a felony sentence by up to five years, but prosecutors say it can be challenging to prove a crime was motivated by a suspect’s bias.

Prosecutors have filed charges of second-degree battery against Dickerson in the gas station attack. He also faces a charge of failing to register as a sex offender.

The beating happened about 11 p.m. on May 12 at a Chevron station on Scenic Highway in north Baton Rouge.

Dickerson is accused of knocking the white man unconscious after telling him he was “in the wrong neighborhood and he was not going to make it out,” according to court filings.

Two other suspects, Devin Bessye, 24, and Ashley Simmons, 22, allegedly struck the man’s wife and 14-year-old daughter. Both were issued summonses for simple battery, a misdemeanor.

Provisional Police Chief Carl Dabadie Jr. has said the officers who decided not to book Bessye and Simmons into East Baton Rouge Parish Prison were counseled for an “error in judgment.”