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Suspect charged with hate crime

A 27-year-old Tarpon Springs man was arrested Saturday night and charged with a hate crime and aggravated battery after police said he hit a black child with a shovel while shouting racial epithets.

Tarpon Springs police arrested Lance M. Whittle, 1105 S Pinellas Ave., No. 9, for the Feb. 3 incident.

According to jail records, Whittle allegedly ordered the child from his home using racial epithets and said, "Get out of my house. I don't want you in my house." Whittle then followed the child outside and struck at the child with a shovel. The child grabbed at the shovel and handle and suffered slight swelling and soreness in his hand, according to the report.

Whittle was being held on $25,000 bail at the county jail Sunday night.

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