A federal grand jury has indicted a Massachusetts man accused in a racist attack late last year on a hate crime charge.
The office of U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins said Wednesday that 77-year-old John Sullivan had been charged with violating the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act on Dec. 2, when he is accused of intentionally hitting an Asian man with his vehicle and yelling at him to "go back to China."
The victim and his sister, Desiree Thien, were leaving the post office on Washington Street with Thien's three children at the time of the attack. She said in December that her brother had suffered a fractured shoulder, torn ligaments and a concussion.
"He looked at our family, and then he told us to go back to China," Thien said. "And then he said to us, he's going into the post office, 'When I come back out in five minutes, if you're still here, I'm going to kill all of you.'"
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Sullivan is accused of driving around 50 yards with Thien's brother on the hood of the car, before abruptly stopping, which allowed him to get off the hood.
"Then he accelerated on the gas again, which hit my brother and sent him flying into the construction ditch nearby," Thien said.
The victim told police he hit a pipe at the bottom of the ditch, which was 10-15 feet deep.
Sullivan allegedly drove off, being followed by a witness to Braintree, where he was involved in a crash before being arrested.
"If I didn't have the video, and I didn't have the pictures, it would be hearsay between me and John Sullivan," Thien told NBC10 Boston Wednesday night. "I'm demanding for the maximum sentence and the maximum fine, because I want to send out the statement that hate crime has no place in America."
Following a dangerousness hearing after the attack, Sullivan was released on home confinement.
"Hate has no place here in Massachusetts. As this case demonstrates, we will aggressively prosecute hate crimes and other civil-rights offenses committed because of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, or national origin of any individual or group," Rollins said in a statement Wednesday. "Our thoughts are with the victim and their family at this time. The alleged hate-filled and violent behavior of Mr. Sullivan is reprehensible and we intend to hold him accountable."
"There is no way to undo the alleged damage that Mr. Sullivan did to this victim with his hateful, repulsive, and violent behavior. No one should ever be targeted or threatened because of their race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or immigration status," Special Agent in Charge Joseph R. Bonavolonta of the FBI's Boston division said in a statement. "Hate crimes are not only an attack on the victim, but they also instill fear and threaten and intimidate an entire community which is why the FBI worked so closely with the Quincy Police Department to bring Mr. Sullivan to face justice. We urge members of our community to report incidents like this to us because hate-based violence has no place in our society and will not be tolerated."
Rollins' office noted that the hate crime charge has a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and up to $250,000 in fines.