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Forum Communications, Published November 30 2012

Iron Range men accused of race-related attack

DULUTH, Minn. – Three men from the Minnesota Iron Range have been charged with fourth-degree assault after an investigation of a year-old race-related incident in Virginia, Minn.

Gerald William Meagher Jr., 34, of Virginia; Chad James Stevens, 23, of Mountain Iron; and Lee Scott Randall, 23, of Aurora, were charged in the assault of a couple in the early morning hours of Nov. 3, 2011.

The complaint in the case states that the three men harassed the couple while passing them in a pickup truck as the two stood along a street. The report says the men targeted the male for his race, using racial epithets.

The men are accused of later stopping the truck driven by Randall and attacking the couple, punching the woman and punching and kicking the male. Police were called at 2:28 a.m.

A hat and cellphone left at the scene led police to Stevens, and he was identified by the female victim in a police lineup.

The fourth-degree assault charge is a gross misdemeanor and the attack was characterized as based on the male’s race, making it a bias crime, also known as a hate crime.

The police report says the men admitted to fighting with the couple.