October 27, 2016
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CA Couple Convicted Of Federal Civil Rights Charge For Bias-Motivated Assault


WASHINGTON,  -- A federal jury in Sacramento today convicted Joseph Silva, 56, and his wife, Georgia Silva, 52, of Fairfield, Calif., of violating the civil rights of an American who is of South Asian descent, the Justice Department announced. The victim was attempting to enjoy El Dorado Beach on Lake Tahoe, Calif., in July 2007when the Silvas confronted and attacked him.

The evidence at trial showed that on the evening of July 14, 2007Georgia Silva initially verbally confronted an Indian-American man using derogatory racial and ethnic slurs. When the victim attempted to call the police, Georgia Silvaassaulted the victim, knocking him to the ground. Georgia Silva then struck the victim while her husband kicked the victim in the head. As a result of this attack, the victim suffered fractures to his facial bones and other bodily injury and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital. Witnesses to the incident testified that Georgia Silva also used derogatory language toward another man of Indian descent, unrelated to the victim, and spit at the man and the victims.

"Acts of violence motivated by bigotry and hate will not be tolerated by the people of the United States," said Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "As this prosecution demonstrates, the Justice Department is committed to vigorously prosecuting the federal laws prohibiting violent acts motivated by hatred of minorities."

"One of the great things about California is the rich diversity of cultures represented in this state. It is one of the most diverse societies anywhere. Upholding the right of all members of our society to enjoy public facilities regardless of race, religion or national origin is at the core of our responsibility at the Department of Justice. Racial violence of the sort engaged in by the defendants in this case is simply not acceptable. The verdict in this case serves as an important reminder that such conduct is not only un-American, it is criminal," said Benjamin B. Wagner, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.

Each defendant faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

The case was investigated by FBI Special Agent Christopher Campion with the assistance of Special Agent Brad J. Bilderback. Officer Rhett Gann of the South Lake Tahoe Police Department assisted in the investigation and testified at the trial.

The case was prosecuted by First Assistant U.S. Attorney Carolyn K. Delaney and Civil Rights Division Trial Attorneys C. Douglas Kern and Michael J. Frank.



SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice

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