Izmir Koch, 34, of Huber Heights, Ohio, was sentenced today to 30 months in prison for beating a man he believed to be Jewish outside of a Cincinnati restaurant.
Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division; Benjamin C. Glassman, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; and Todd A. Wickerham, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Cincinnati Division, announced the sentence.
Koch was convicted after a trial on Dec. 17, 2018, of one count of violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr., Hate Crimes Prevention Act and one count of making a false statement to the FBI.
On Feb. 4, 2017, the Defendant and his companions were heard yelling “I want to kill all of the Jews” and “I want to stab the Jews” outside a Cincinnati restaurant. The victim represented to Koch that he was Jewish, after which Koch began punching and kicking him. A number of other people joined in the assault. The victim was left with a broken facial bone and bruised ribs. The victim was not in fact Jewish, but was with friends and family members who were.
After the incident, Koch, accompanied by his attorney, spoke voluntarily with the FBI. Koch falsely told the FBI that he was not involved in the assault and that he made no derogatory comments about Jews.
“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.”
“Hate-fueled violent crimes ripple through communities, making entire groups feel unsafe and unwelcome, spawning fear and anger,” U.S. Attorney Glassman said. “That is why investigating and prosecuting hate crimes is such a high priority. Every community — every person — is entitled to the equal protection of the laws.”
“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.”
This case was investigated by the Cincinnati Division of the FBI. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Megan Gaffney of the Southern District of Ohio and Trial Attorney Dana Mulhauser of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.