A case in which three men allegedly kidnapped a mentally disabled Navajo man and branded him with a coat hanger shaped into a swastika has prompted the first-ever charges under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Tom Perez, the head of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division, this week called the crime "a devastatingly persistent reminder that bigotry and hate continue."
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According to prosecutors, the three men in their early 20s, all of whom worked at a McDonald's in Farmington, N.M., lured a 22-year-old man, whose name has not been released, into an apartment. While there, they allegedly drew on him, using permanent marker, a pentagram, an ejaculating penis, "white power" and "KKK." They allegedly shaved his head, leaving only the shape of a swastika.
Then, according to prosecutors, they bent a coat hanger into the shape of half a swastika and pressed it into his arm twice, branding him. They took cell phone of the act, allegedly, as well as video of the victim -- whose family says he has the mind of a 12-year-old as a result of being born with fetal alcohol syndrome-- "consenting" to the branding.