LOUISIANA: A former reserve deputy with the Baton Rouge Sheriff’s office, who authorities said crashed his car into a convenience store because he believed the owners were Muslim, has pleaded no contest to a hate crime at Livingston Parish in March this year.
Chad Horsley, 27, was sentenced by 21st Judicial District Judge Jeff Johnson to two years in prison, suspended for a three-year period of probation, according to court documents.
Authorities said Horsley, of Denham Springs, told investigators his reason for causing the damage to the convenience store on Springfield Road was that “the people who operate the business were the same ‘ones’ who killed his fellow service members overseas.”
“Chad was under the impression they were Muslim and was upset that they were allowed to prosper in the United States of America easier than him despite his service in the military,” according to an affidavit signed by a Livingston Parish Sheriff’s deputy.
The Sikh owned store sustained damage to the front leaving the cashier on duty traumatised. Twenty minutes after cashier Harjot Singh, the nephew of the store’s owner, closed the store, Chad Horsley plowed his pickup truck through the window of the store.
After the incident at the store, Horsley was arrested and charged with a hate crime, criminal damage to property, criminal mischief and two counts of impersonating a peace officer. He was released on $56,000 bail.
Investigators called the case “a bizarre one.” They said Horsley had been in the store the week before and he claimed that “he worked for a Sheriff’s Office and suspected the cashier of dealing drugs from the store.” Police said Horsley told the clerk he would be back around midnight to search the store and that the clerk should “make sure no one was around.”
Instead, the clerk called the sheriff’s office, which warned the public to be on the lookout for the 5-foot-9 man who was making threats and probably impersonating a police officer.
Authorities said he at first claimed to be a witness to the crime but later told them that he was involved — and railed about Muslims.
“Even if it was Muslims, he shouldn’t have done that thing,” said Singh, the clerk on duty at the time. “We’re just trying to make a living out of here; that’s all we’re doing.”
Horsley pleaded no contest to hate crimes and simple criminal damage to property on Oct. 18 and was also ordered to pay $1,500 restitution, $750 in fines and never return to a Best Stop convenience store. Although charged with impersonation of a police officer, the charges were dismissed.