A jury this week found a Tampa Bay man guilty of a federal hate crime for a 2021 racially motivated attack against a Black family in Pinellas County.
Jordan Patrick Leahy, 29, could face up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release. Leahy was in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service on Thursday as he awaited sentencing. A date has not yet been scheduled.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office arrested Leahy in August 2021 in Largo on charges of threatening communications or threats of a mass shooting, felony battery and driving under the influence including property damage. Deputies noted at the time that they considered the incident to be a hate crime, and the federal charge was later added. The state charges resulted in plea deals and probation.
The Justice Department said Leahy pursued a Black man, who was driving his daughter and girlfriend home from a family event, for more than a mile before he sideswiped their car. Leahy made a Nazi salute and pretended to shoot the driver, and he also got out of his car at an intersection and punched the man in the face. Leahy also reportedly said, “Y’all need to control them...” before making derogatory comments about Black people and yelling a racial slur multiple times.
The Justice Department release adds that Leahy yelled that Black people need to be kept “in their areas.”
“Across America, families must be able to freely travel our public streets without fear of being attacked because of race,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a Justice Department release.