CINCINNATI — A Huber Heights man was sentenced to 30 months in prison for beating a man who he believed was Jewish, according to the Department of Justice on Tuesday.
The incident began in February 2017 when Izmir Koch, 34, yelled “I want to kill all of the Jews,” and “I want to stab the Jews,” outside a Cincinnati-area restaurant, according to the DOJ.
Koch asked if anyone was Jewish and the victim responded. Believing that the victim was Jewish, Koch punched and kicked the victim leaving him with broken bones in his face and bruised ribs.
As it turned out, the victim wasn't really Jewish, but was with family members and friends who are Jewish.
Koch was found guilty of a hate crime in December 2018 — convicted of one count of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. He was also convicted of lying to the FBI about his role in the “religiously motivated assault,” the DOJ said.
“Individuals should be able to live without fear of attack or intimidation based on their religious beliefs,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “Prosecuting hate crimes is a top priority for the Department of Justice and as this sentence today demonstrates, we will not back down from obtaining justice for victims of violence based on hate.”
The case was investigated by the Cincinnati Division of the FBI.
“The FBI aggressively investigates hate crime incidents and works closely with impacted communities,” stated FBI Cincinnati Special Agent in Charge Todd A. Wickerham. “Each day we strive to protect civil rights and hold accountable those who violate the rights of others.”