Tacoma, Washington - A Washington state man pleaded guilty to hate crime and false statement charges in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
Jason DeSimas, 47, of Tacoma, pleaded guilty to one crime of committing a hate crime for his participation in the assault of T.S., a Black man, which occurred because of his race. DeSimas assaulted T.S. at a bar in Lynnwood, Washington, on Dec. 8, 2018. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Nicholas W. Brown of the Western District of Washington made the announcement.
In his plea agreement, DeSimas admitted that, at the time of the assault, he was a prospective member of a white supremacist group. On Dec. 8, 2018, DeSimas entered a bar in Lynnwood, Washington, with others, including members of the white supremacist hate group and its support group. While in the bar, DeSimas assaulted T.S, a Black man who was serving as the disc jockey at the bar. DeSimas called T.S. a racial slur, and punched him in the face, knocking T.S. to the floor. Others punched, kicked, and/or stomped on T.S., while continuing to call T.S. racial slurs. Two bystanders attempted to intervene to help T.S. and stop the assault. Both bystanders were assaulted by members of the group, and both sustained injuries.
In addition to the hate crime charge, DeSimas pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI agents about circumstances surrounding the assault. Specifically, DeSimas falsely claimed to the agents that neither he nor anyone else called T.S. a racial slur during the assault. This statement was false, in that DeSimas knew he and others called T.S. a racial slur before, during, and after the assault. DeSimas made this false statement to the FBI because he wanted to cover up the motive for the assault, which was the bias that he and others had against T.S.’s race.
DeSimas will be sentenced on July 8. The hate crime charge carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison. The false statement charge carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison.
DeSimas was charged in an indictment that was unsealed on Dec. 18, 2020. The seven-count indictment also charged three other men, each aiding and abetting one another, with punching and kicking T.S. while making derogatory comments about his race. The indictment further charged DeSimas and the three other men with assaulting two men who intervened to protect T.S. during the attack, as well as with making false statements to the FBI during the course of their investigation. One of these three men, Daniel Dorson, previously pleaded guilty in this matter.
This case was investigated by the FBI, with the support of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. Trial Attorney Christine M. Siscaretti of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca Cohen for the Western District of Washington are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and the two remaining defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.