LEWISTON -- Two Lewiston men face serious charges for a hate crime after attacking and harassing an African American male in a Zip Trip parking lot on Friday, August 17th.
Police say victim Herman Gary was pushed by 24-year-old Steven Leas after Gary emerged from the convenience store with a sandwich. Leas and 18-year-old Cody Lindell then chased Gary around the parking lot, yelling racial slurs and otherwise harassing him because of the color of his skin.
The two then took off in a pickup truck.
Lewiston’s Interim Police Chief Roger Lanier called the incident “downright frustrating” and said it certainly wouldn’t be tolerated in the Lewiston community.
The two men were captured on the Zip Trip surveillance camera, prompting the father of one of the suspects to turn his son in.
Leas had his first court appearance on Wednesday, charged with Felony Malicious Harassment and two counts of Misdemeanor Battery, while Lindell also faces a felony.
Police Chief Lanier promised that the responsible party would be brought to justice, and warned others against committing racially motivated crimes.
“There’s no room for it; keep it to yourself,” Lanier said. “Lewiston is a diverse place; North Idaho is a diverse area. It’s here for everybody.”
“If you harbor ill will, keep it to yourself,” he reiterated. “We’ll investigate it rapidly and we’ll prosecute it to the fullest extent.”