A man who allegedly yelled racial slurs at a child and his father and then proceeded to shock the father with a stun cane has been charged with a federal hate crime.
According to KSTU, a federal grand jury returned an indictment against 58-year-old Mark Porter, formerly of Draper, Utah, on Sept. 13; the indictment was unsealed two days later. Porter has been charged with interference with housing, which is a hate crime and faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The indictment against Porter alleges that in November 2016, the man yelled racial slurs at a 7-year-old African-American boy and his father, who were his neighbors. KSL reports that the father told Porter not to yell at his son before Porter hit him in the neck with the stun cane.
"[T]he defendant yelled 'n*****,' said get out of here to [Victim] and [Victim’s] seven-year-old son, and used a stun cane [a Zap Cane] to assault [Victim], resulting in bodily injury,” the indictment alleges, according to KSTU.
The product description for the Zap Cane on Amazon.com claims that the cane "provides 1 million volts of personal protection with multiple points of contact." By comparison, Slate reports that Taser guns send a pulse of about 50,000 volts.
The indictment against Porter classifies the Zap Cane as a "dangerous weapon," according to KSTU.
KSL reported that the boy's father said that, although he had been shocked with the stun cane, he was able to wrestle it away from Porter. When police arrived that the scene, Porter allegedly claimed that the father of the boy had stolen the stun cane.
One of the police officers also reportedly said that Porter "smelled of alcohol."
Porter then allegedly struggled with two of the police officers, knocking off one officer's body camera and elbowing her. Charges against him also stated that he defecated in the back of the patrol car.
Five days following the alleged incident, which reportedly took place on Nov. 3, Porter was facing several charges, including assault. The state assault charges against him have been dismissed in light of the federal prosecution.
Porter's attorney said Porter maintains his innocence and is looking forward to being vindicated.
Porter was arrested in Arizona, where he now resides, and will appear before a federal court in that state, according to Gephardt Daily.