Hate crime charges filed in fight at Florida bar that began with 'Africa Day' remark
'There's one African-American that's being beat to a pulp,' 911 caller says
VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A man who harassed an interracial couple at a bar on Mother's Day is facing a hate crime charge for the fight he started, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.
The victim, who is black, was having drinks at Tailgatorz Sports Bar & Grill on Mother's Day with his wife, who is white, when Warren Stratton approached and asked the man if he was from Africa and whether it was "Africa Day," the report said.
Deputies said Stratton continued staring at the couple and making racial comments then said he was, "just looking for a piece of (expletive)," in reference to the victim's wife.
The victim stood up and told Warren to move along. The argument turned physical when Stratton pushed the victim, according to the affidavit.
Deputies said two bar patrons tried to separate the fight but two of Stratton's family members, 20-year-old John Noe and 52-year-old Troy Noe, jumped in and began throwing punches at the victims.
"There's a terrible fight and there's one African-American that's being beat to a pulp -- and no one is here to defend him -- by a bunch of rednecks," a witness said in a 911 call.
Once the fight was broken up, Troy Noe and Warren were heard calling the victim a racial slur and making racially-motivated comments about the victim's wife, according to the affidavit.
Deputies said surveillance footage from the bar showed that the victim and his wife were minding their business at the bar when Warren began instigating and his two relatives jumped in when the fight turned physical.
When Warren was approached at his residence in Oak Hill, deputies said he was on the phone with someone and sounded as if he was "trying to get his story together." He admitted to asking the victim if he was from Africa because "that's where they all come from" but he denied any wrongdoing, according to the report.
All three men were originally facing hate crime charges. The charge was reduced for John Noe but remains for the other two suspects.
The owner of Tailgatorz Sports Bar told News 6 that the three suspects are no longer welcome. He said his business does not tolerate racism. He also said that the victim is a regular at the establishment, and has since been back following the incident.
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