Hate crimes against Indo-American community are increasing.
St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Ken Mascara announced on March 10, that Richard Leslie Lloyd, 64, was arrested for attempting to set fire to the Met Mart convenience store located at 100 Prima Vista Blvd. in Port St. Lucie. The store belonged to an Indo-American.
According to the Sheriff, at approximately 7:40 a.m., deputies were called to the Met Mart store in reference to a white male in front of the store acting suspicious.
“When the deputies arrived, they noticed the dumpster had been rolled in front of the doors and the contents were lit on fire,” said Sheriff Ken J. Mascara. “Upon seeing our deputies, the man put his hands behind his back and said ‘take me away.’”
Attack on Indo-American store to settle score with Muslims:
According to the Sheriff, firefighters from the St. Lucie County Fire District extinguished the fire. The store, belonging to a person of the Indo-American community, was not open and security shutters were closed and intact.
“The man, identified as Richard Lloyd, was read his Miranda Rights and then told deputies that he pushed the dumpster to the front of the building, tore down signs posted to the outside of the store and lit the contents of the dumpster on fire to ‘run the Arabs out of our country,’” Mascara said.
According to the Sheriff, detectives then interviewed Lloyd where he stated he assumed the owner was Muslim and it made him mad “due to what they are doing in the Middle East.”
“It’s unfortunate that Mr. Lloyd made the assumption that the store owners were Arabic when, in fact, they are of Indian descent,” Mascara said. “Regardless, we will not tolerate violence based on age, race, color, ancestry, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, homeless status, mental or physical disability.”
According to the Sheriff, based on the detective’s interview of Mr. Lloyd, his actions today and his mental health will be evaluated and it will be the responsibility of the state attorney’s office to consider whether this was an intentional hate crime.
“I think what is most important is that we again have residents of our community calling law enforcement when they see something that just doesn’t seem right,” Mascara said. “I would like to thank those who contacted 9-1-1 when they noticed Mr. Lloyd in front of the store, they may have helped us avoid a much more significant incident.”
Lloyd was booked into the St. Lucie County Jail in lieu of a $30,000 bond.
Many people from the Indo-American community have been facing a hard time after the elevation of Donald Trump. To read about the cases, click here.