Man pleads guilty to hate crime after yelling racial slurs, waving baseball bat at Va. man

John Michael Ready (Alexandria Police)

After pleading guilty on July 28, a 26-year-old man has been convicted and sentenced to jail for a hate crime for threatening a man with racial slurs while waving a baseball bat at him, officials say.

Evidence presented in the Alexandria General District Court showed that on June 14 John Michael Ready, of no fixed address, pulled up to an African-American man at a traffic light on Jefferson Davis Hwy. and yelled a racial slur at the man, according to a statement from the Commonwealth's Attorney’s Office.

Ready then followed the man into the Potomac Yards shopping center and parked his car, got out and pulled a black baseball bat from his trunk. Ready chased after the victim’s car and tried to hit the car with the bat, according to a witness.

The victim got away from Ready until police arrived. He was not hit or injured in the attack.

When Alexandria Police detained Ready he continued to use racial slurs against African Americans, police say. Ready later admitted that his actions and threats were racially motivated.

“The Code of Virginia punishes assaults motivated by hate more severely – and for good reason,” Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter said. “In addition to the obvious risk of physical harm present during an assault, hate-motivated crimes also tend to divide the citizenry by causing segments of society to fear attack simply because of the race or religious group to which they happen to belong. Hate-motivated crimes directly contravene the aspirational words of the founders of our country – that all citizens are created equal and are entitled to equal protection under the law.”

“Proving, in court, that the victim of an assault was selected because of his race or religion can be difficult,” Porter said. “Here, the defendant’s own words established the motivation for the assault beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Ready was sentenced to 12 months in jail with nine months suspended, conditioned on one year of supervised probation, two years of uniform good behavior, and his having no contact with the victim in this case, according to the statement. By code, the charge carries a 30-day mandatory minimum sentence.

Ready has completed the jail portion of his sentence and has been released under the supervision of a probation officer.

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