A man accused of declaring himself a racist and punching a neighbor was charged Tuesday with committing a hate crime — more than three weeks after he was arrested.
Thod T. Kuaygong surrendered early Oct. 23 after screaming anti-white sentiments from behind a locked door for 30 minutes, according to a police report.
He continued his tirade on the drive to jail and while being booked.
Officers at the time cited Kuaygong on suspicion of committing a hate crime on top of the assault — turning what would have been a misdemeanor into a felony.
But the hate crime accusation disappeared when he was formally charged Oct. 25.
It reappeared Tuesday.
Kuaygong is the second suspect to face a hate crime charge in 2010, despite more than 30 reported hate crimes recorded by Lincoln police so far this year.He faces a felony punishable by as many as five years in prison.
Lancaster County Chief Deputy Attorney Joe Kelly said his office restored the charge after he asked his prosecutor and the investigator to take a closer look at the case.
“It’s filed the way it is now because the investigation supports those charges,” Kelly said. “The facts we know of support those charges.”
Last month, Police Chief Tom Casady — addressing the gap between reported hate crimes and formal charges — acknowledged they’re hard to prove in court. The 35-year-old man in the other unit told police he reached out to shake hands, but Kuaygong called him a “white bastard” and punched him in the left eye, knocking him back into his apartment.
“I am a racist,” Kuaygong yelled.
“I hate white people,” he told police.more