The Justice Department announced that 23-year-old Axl C. Cox has been charged with a hate crime and arson violation for lighting a cross in his front yard for bullying, interfering and intimidating a black family in Gulfport, Mississippi Is.
According to court documents, Cox has been charged with one count of criminal interference with the right to reasonable accommodation and one count of using fire to commit a federal crime. The indictment alleges that on December 3, 2020, Cox threatened, threatened and interfered with a black family to enjoy their housing rights. According to the indictment, Cox burned a cross in his front yard, and used threats and racially derogatory comments towards his black neighbors. Cox reportedly decided to burn the cross because of the race of the victims.
If convicted, Cox faces up to 10 years in prison for interfering with victims’ housing rights and a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison for any other punishment for using fire to commit a federal crime. Does matter. Cox also faces fines of up to $250,000 in relation to each charge.
Kristen Clark, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, Darren J., U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi. LaMarca and Jermicha Fomby’s special agent in charge for the FBI Jackson Field office make the announcement.
Andrea Caballe Jones, assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Mississippi and Noah Kockle II, trial attorney for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, are prosecuting the case.
For more information and resources about the department’s efforts to combat hate crimes, visit www.justice.gov/hatecrimes,
An indictment is only one charge, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable offense.