Santa Cruz man sentenced for federal hate crime

SANTA CRUZ (BCN) — A Santa Cruz man was sentenced Thursday to six years and 10 months in prison for committing a federal hate crime in Santa Cruz in 2020.

Ole Hougen was convicted earlier this year for attacking a Black man with a knife and yelling racial slurs in July 2020.

According to evidence presented at trial in federal court in San Jose, Hougen confronted a 29-year-old Black man crossing a street, took out a 9-inch knife and swiped multiple times at the man’s head, chest and stomach while yelling racial slurs at him.

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In a letter sent out Thursday, the U.S. Department of Justice and FBI reported that the conviction and sentencing of Hougen was the first in the Northern District of California under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a federal law passed in 2009 to expand the government’s ability to prosecute hate crimes.

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