Jackie Congedo — In Conversation
JCRC Statement on Hate Crime Conviction after Antisemitic Incident Outside Cincinnati Restaurant
This week Izmir Koch was convicted in U.S. District Court for assaulting a man outside a Cincinnati restaurant because he believed that man was Jewish. The Jewish Community Relations Council of Cincinnati wants to extend our sincere gratitude to the U.S. Attorney’s office for their diligence in prosecuting this case and to the FBI for their careful investigation. The JCRC worked closely with the victim in 2017 to make sure law enforcement had the information they needed to investigate. Hate crimes attack more than the individual victim—they are an assault on an entire community and on the very pluralistic nature of our American society. This conviction sends a clear message that hate will not be tolerated and hate crimes will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
MAN CONVICTED OF HATE CRIME IN ATTACK OUTSIDE CINCINNATI RESTAURANT
CINCINNATI – Izmir Koch, 33, of Huber Heights, Ohio, was convicted in U.S. District Court today for assaulting a man because he believed the man was Jewish in violation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and of lying to the FBI about his role in the religiously motivated assault.
Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, and Todd Wickerham, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Cincinnati Division, announced the verdict, which was reached today by U.S. District Judge Susan J. Dlott after a bench trial that occurred between Nov. 13 to 15.
According to court documents and testimony, the assault occurred on Feb. 4, 2017, outside a Cincinnati restaurant, when Koch yelled out asking if anyone outside the restaurant was Jewish. The victim responded that he was Jewish and Koch then ran to the victim and punched him in the head. When the victim fell to the ground, Koch and others continued hitting and kicking him, breaking a bone in his face and bruising his ribs. Approximately a half-dozen of Koch’s friends joined in the assault. Before and during the assault, the defendant and his associates were heard shouting, “I want to kill all of the Jews” and “I want to stab the Jews.”
After the incident occurred, Koch made a voluntary statement to the FBI, accompanied by his attorney. Koch falsely told the FBI he was not involved in the fight, the fight only consisted of two punches, and he had not said anything disparaging about Jews.
“This is the first conviction under the federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act in the Southern District of Ohio,” said U.S. Attorney Glassman. “We will not permit hate-fueled violence to gain a toehold here. Nor will we countenance lying to FBI agents. Today’s convictions reflect our resolve.”
In October, the Justice Department launched a new comprehensive hate crimes website designed to provide a centralized portal for the Department’s hate crimes resources for law enforcement, media, researchers, victims, advocacy groups and other related organizations and individuals. More information on the website and an update on Justice Department hate crimes prosecutions can be found here.
This case was investigated by the FBI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Megan Gaffney and Trial Attorney Dana Mulhauser of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.