WATERLOO, Iowa --- A Waterloo resident is charged with a hate crime for allegedly beating a person who is gay outside a bar while yelling homophobic slurs.
Black Hawk County Sheriff's deputies arrested Mitcheal Baruth, 27, on Friday on a warrant issued by the Waterloo Police Department. The warrant was for misdemeanor assault in violation of individual rights, fifth-degree criminal mischief and obstruction of emergency communication. Baruth was later released from jail.
The arrest stems from an incident March 23 at Packers Inn on Rath Street. The victim was out with his boyfriend and his boyfriend's parents.
When the two men kissed in the bar, Baruth, who was also at the bar, asked if they were "queer," according to court records.
When the man left the bar, Baruth followed him into the parking lot and tackled him. Baruth got on top of the man and allegedly punched the victim several times, yelling "faggot."
The charges against Baruth fall under the state's hate crime statutes for offenses committed because of a person's race, religion, national origin, political affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, age or disability.
Hate crimes increase the level of punishment. In Baruth's case, the assault charge was elevated from a serious misdemeanor to an aggravated misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to two years in prison.