KEY POINTS

  • Nolan Levi Strauss, 27, pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime involving an attempt to kill
  • He said he stabbed a man in the neck twice in 2019 "because he was Black"
  • Strauss faces a maximum sentence of life in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 9

A 27-year-old man from Colorado admitted to stabbing a stranger inside a fast food restaurant in 2019 because of the color of the victim's skin, prosecutors said.

Nolan Levi Strauss pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime involving an attempt to kill, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said in a statement released Thursday.

Citing court documents, the DOJ said that on Dec. 21, 2019, Strauss approached a man who was sitting inside an Arby's restaurant in Ontario, Oregon and — without provocation or warning — stabbed the latter in the neck twice.

A maintenance worker that was present during the incident was able to use a belt to secure Strauss after the victim broke free from Strauss' grip and collapsed on the other side of the restaurant's floor, the DOJ said.

When the worker asked Strauss why he stabbed the victim, Strauss replied, "Because he was Black, and I don't like Black people," according to the DOJ. He was arrested on the scene and later admitted that he tried to kill the man because he was Black.

The victim suffered two lacerations on the neck from the attack. He was evaluated in Ontario and subsequently life-flighted to a hospital in Boise, Idaho for emergency surgery.

"This crime serves as a horrifying reminder that racism and bigotry still exist and threaten the safety of communities of color," Acting U.S. Attorney Scott Erik Asphaug for the District of Oregon was quoted in the statement as saying. "Hate crimes not only hurt victims, but spread fear across entire communities."

"Everyone deserves to go to work without fearing they will be a victim of violence because of how they look or how they live. Racist attacks like this one - powered by hate and grounded in ignorance - strike at the heart of our community," Kieran Ramsey, a special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon, said.

Strauss faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, according to the DOJ. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 9 before U.S. District Court Judge Michael J. McShane.

mcdonalds-732929_1920 Representation. Nolan Levi Strauss approached a man inside a restaurant and stabbed him twice in the neck "because the was Black," prosecutors said. Photo: Pixabay