Authorities: Saratoga assault didn't rise to level of a hate crime
SARATOGA SPRINGS Investigators have withdrawn their allegations of a hate crime in connection with an alcohol-fueled assault that occurred near Caroline Street during the pre-dawn hours Sunday.
Luis M. Garcia, 23, of Brooklyn NY, and Shayne Richardson, 21, of Catherine Street in Saratoga Springs, were both charged with second-degree assault bases on the serious physical injury they allegedly caused a man. They were also charged with third-degree assault stemming from the fracas that broke out around 4 a.m.
Saratoga County District Attorney James Murphy, III and Saratoga Springs Police Chief Greg Veitch conferred and decided the initial assessment of a hate crime wasn't warranted. In short, they determined simply uttering a racial slur during an attack doesn't rise to the level prescribed under the state statute.
"The actor must not simply use the racial slur, but it must be shown by independent corroborating evidence that the actor used the racial slur and the actor intentionally selected the person against whom the offense is committed because of his race," Murphy stated in a new release today.
The case, however, is still under review. Murphy said the decision on whether to reinstate the hate crime charge may ultimately rest with a grand jury.
The assault charge is based on the allegation Garcia and Richardson intended to cause serious physical injury to another person. Murphy said the victim was unconscious at the scene and later treated for numerous facial fractures at Saratoga Hospital, where he remains today.
City police responded to a call about a fight in progress on Pavilion Row, a small street flanked by the Saratogian parking lot and D'Andrea's Pizza. Responding officers found the two assaulted men, one appearing to be seriously injured.
Lt. Robert Jillson said the two assailants fled the area, but were quickly tracked down by police. Upon further investigation, police learned a racial slur had been directed at one of the victims.
It's unclear what started the fight. Jillson said it appears as though alcohol played a factor.
"We're still looking into it," he said.
Jillson described Richardson as being “well known to the police department.”