SHAWNEE, Okla. (KFOR) – Following a horrific attack in Shawnee, an Oklahoma state senator is filing new legislation to deter future hate crimes in the state.
Around 2 a.m. on June 22, officers were called to the parking lot outside of the Brickhouse Saloon in Shawnee following a reported assault.
Family members say Jarric Carolina and a friend were having a drink at the bar when they were suddenly attacked by two men.
In the parking lot, surveillance cameras were rolling as two men brutally beat Carolina, leaving him unconscious.
“After they knocked him out, why continue to beat him? They just pounded on him like he was nothing,” Jammie Carolina, Jarric’s wife, told News 4. “It made me angry, you know, of course.”
After the attack, the camera captured one of the suspects yelling, ‘You’re dead’ and a racial slur.
“I honestly thought I was going to lose him,” Jammie said. “I wasn’t sure it was the whole racial slurs thing until later that day at the hospital when the video surfaced.”
Investigators ultimately arrested 28-year-old Brandon Killian and 24-year-old Devan Johnson on charges of aggravated assault and battery, conspiracy and malicious intimidation or harassment.
Pottawatomie County District Attorney Allan Grubb says the charges filed include violations of the state's hate crime statute.
Now, an Oklahoma state senator has filed new legislation that would make the state's hate crime laws a bit stronger.
Senate Bill 1083 would allow district attorneys to choose whether to charge hate crime offenders with a misdemeanor or a felony.
Under current Oklahoma law, a first-time hate crime offense is a misdemeanor.
“When working to improve public safety, it’s important that criminals be held accountable for their crimes and that their punishment reflects the severity of their crimes,” said Sen. Ron Sharp, R-Shawnee. “Currently, Oklahoma’s hate crime statutes are not strong enough, and I want to thank D.A. Allan Grubb for bringing this to my attention. This bill will enable district attorneys to look at the evidence of a hate crime and decide what punishment best suits the circumstances to ensure justice is fully served.”
District Attorney Grubb says he requested the bill after taking a look at Carolina's case.
“Hate crimes are becoming more prevalent, and as district attorneys, it’s important we have the ability to file charges that fit the crime. Mr. Carolina had a brutal crime committed against him yet under current law, these two men can only be charged with a misdemeanor. That isn’t adequate justice. They nearly killed Mr. Carolina and deserve a much harsher sentence,” Grubb said. “I want to thank Senator Sharp for filing this important public safety legislation and hope it makes it through the legislative process quickly to ensure future hate crime victims receive fair justice and offenders are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Senate Bill 1083 will be assigned to a legislative committee once the new session begins in February.