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Ohio Man Charged With Hate Crime After Beating Man He Thought Was Jewish

(JTA) — A Cincinnati-area man was indicted on a federal hate crimes charge for attacking a man he thought was Jewish.

Izmir Koch, 32, beat a man who was smoking a cigarette outside a local restaurant. He was arrested Wednesday.

According to the indictment, Koch in February 2017 asked people standing outside the restaurant if anyone there was Jewish. When the victim responded in the affirmative, although he was not actually Jewish, Koch allegedly punched him, knocking him to the ground. Koch then continued to hit and kick him.

The victim suffered injuries to his ribs and a fracture of the orbital floor, the bottom portion of his eye socket.

U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman told reporters that the victim was not actually Jewish, but since Koch beat him because he believed he was Jewish, a federal grand jury indicted him on one count of committing a hate crime.

“Physically attacking someone because you think he’s Jewish — or Christian or Muslim or any other religion — is a federal crime,” Glassman said in a statement announcing the indictment. “This office prosecutes hate crimes.”

If convicted, Koch could spend up to 10 years in prison.

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