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Izaye Eubanks

Source: City of Springfield

A Black man in Ohio has been sentenced to decades in federal prison after being convicted of terrorizing at least eight Haitian nationals with admitted federal hate crimes just “because of their national origin,” the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced this week.

Izaye Eubanks, 22, of Springfield, carried out his hateful criminal acts against people who looked like him in January and February of this year by committing “various assaults, robberies and a carjacking of Haitian individuals because of the victims’ actual and perceived national origin,” the DOJ said in a press release. “Eubanks would travel throughout Springfield looking for individuals he believed were from Haiti and then attack the individuals, usually by punching them and knocking them to the ground before robbing them of their money, cell phones, a vehicle and/or other personal belongings.”

The DOJ shared one particular instance that it said reflected Eubanks’ preferred methods of crime against Haitian nationals:

On Jan. 29, Eubanks assaulted and robbed a victim while the victim was walking to wire $300 in cash to his mother in Haiti. Eubanks punched the victim in the back of the head and neck, causing him to briefly black out, then robbed the victim of his cash, cell phone and ATM cards. That same day, Eubanks assaulted a victim as he left a Haitian market. Eubanks grabbed the victim by his shirt, pulled him out of his vehicle and punched him in the face before stealing the victim’s vehicle.

On Wednesday, Eubanks received a prison sentence of 20 years in federal custody for his hate crimes.

“This defendant is being held accountable for repeatedly assaulting and robbing members of the Haitian community in Springfield, Ohio, because of their national origin,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “Attacks like these, where a group of individuals is targeted for violent abuse and robbery because of who they are, will not be tolerated. The Justice Department will continue to enforce our federal criminal civil rights laws to protect all people in this country, and we will prosecute predators who commit violent, bias-motivated crimes.”

According to data from the Pew Research Center, Haiti is among the top countries of origin for Black immigrants living in the U.S. However, the Midwest has a small fraction of the nation’s population of Haitian immigrants.

The Springfield News-Sun reported that “Springfield has seen a sharp increase in Haitian immigrants in the last five years” with up to 10,000 people.

A study conducted by a professor at Tufts University that examined tensions between African Americans and immigrants found in part that a “lack of knowledge of the role and impact of immigration in the Black community” …  “feeds into potential animosity and mistrust between groups that have much in common.”


America’s Black Immigrant Population Is Growing 3 Times Faster Than U.S. Born Blacks, Data Shows

U.S. Tells Haitians To ‘Not Come To The United States’ After President’s Assassination

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