Iowa City man charged with hate crime for assaulting black man

Photo courtesy Johnson County Jail

An Iowa City man is facing a hate crime charge after fighting a man because he was black.

Police responded to a call for a report of two men fighting on Sunday. The victim told police that 47-year-old Andy Benavidez called him racial slurs and hit him first, forcing him to defend himself. Police documents say that Benavidez told police he was wearing a surgical mask because he was "allergic to black people" and didn't want to catch their germs.

Benavidez admitted to police that he only fought the victim because he was black. He is charged with Assault - Violation of Individual Rights, which is considered a hate crime.

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