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CEDAR RAPIDS - A Dubuque man was convicted of a federal hate crime Wednesday for repeatedly stomping and kicking a black man in the head during a bar fight in 2015.
A federal jury deliberated about three hours before finding Randy Joe Metcalf, 40, guilty of committing a hate crime by causing bodily injury to Lamarr Sandridge based on race. Trial testimony showed Metcalf stomped and kicked Sandridge, 31, of Dubuque, in the head multiple times during a fight at the North Side Bar in Dubuque on June 12, 2015.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tony Morfitt said after the verdict that this is the first conviction of this particular charge in the Northern District. It's a fairly new statute but there were some convictions, under a similar law, involving cross burnings in Dubuque back in the 1990s.
Ted Stackis, owner of the bar, testified Monday that Metcalf showed him his swastika tattoo and talked about participating in those cross burnings before the brawl started. Several witnesses testified Monday that Metcalf assaulted Sandridge after making racial slurs, including the N-word, to him and making other derogatory comments to the two white female friends he was with that night.
The video of the assault, captured on video surveillance cameras operating within the bar, was played by the prosecution for the jurors on Monday in U.S. District Court.
Stackis left the bar before the fight but Becky Burkes, a part-time bartender at North Side, testified the physical assault happened when Sandridge's friend Katie Flores knocked a cellphone out of Metcalf's fiancee's hand. Metcalf then went for Flores and Sandridge grabbed Metcalf from behind, but Metcalf's two buddies put Sandridge in a headlock and repeatedly punch him until he was unconscious on the floor. Metcalf then started kicking and stomping on Sandridge's head.
Burkes, who is also a nurse at Mercy Hospital in Dubuque, said she tried to push Metcalf and others back and get between them and Sandridge. Sandridge was bleeding heavily and Burkes said she was worried he would choke on blood. Burkes kicked out Metcalf and his friends and then called 911.
The video showed Metcalf coming back in the bar to get his jacket, but then goes over to Sandridge, who's still unconscious, and again kicks and stomps him.
Sandridge testified he didn't remember the assault or the racial slurs. He remembers Metcalf cursing and swearing at his friends and an argument over the jukebox, but doesn't remember anything until he woke up in an emergency room.
Sandridge had a broken orbital bone, facial swelling, cuts and bruising to his right eye, a bloodclot in his left eye and a sprained ankle from the assault. He said he couldn't see out of one of his eyes for a few days and still has tightness in his cheek.
Several defense witnesses testified Tuesday that Metcalf wasn't a racist and they never heard him used the N-word.
Noelle Weyker of Dubuque, Metcalf's former fiancee, testified she only heard Metcalf use the N-word in a 'friendly” way or singing it in a song, 'not directed at a person.” But she admitted during cross examination that Metcalf used the word in referring to his former inmates in prison.
Metcalf served prison time for domestic abuse and burglary in recent years, according to Iowa Courts online.
Metcalf faces up to 10 years in prison for the conviction. Sentencing hasn't yet been set.
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