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Posted: Wednesday, 15 May 2013 12:37PM

FBI checking to see if attack on white family was hate crime

The FBI is now looking into whether an attack on a family at a Baton Rouge gas station Sunday night constitutes a federal hate crime.  

The victims, who are white, had pulled into a gas station off Baton Rouge's I-110.  The father says he was approached by one assailant who said to him "you're in the wrong neighborhood," before beating him up.

"That is the statement that was made by the victim to investigators that night," said Lt. Don Kelly of the Baton Rouge Police Department.

Listen to Lt. Don Kelly, spokesman for Baton Rouge Police.

"The male victim was beaten severely and he suffered serious injuries," Kelly said. He said officers located the suspect, Donald Dickerson, a short time later.

"We also identified two other people who were with him, Devin Bessye and Ashley Simmons, who allegedly punched the man's wife and teenage daughter," said Kelly.

Cops booked Dickerson into the Baton Rouge Jail.  Bessye and Simmons received misdemeanor summonses.

"We're still continuing the investigation," Kelly told WWL First News.

All three suspects are black.  Kelly said officers on the scene didn't think the incident qualified as a hate crime under state law, but federal laws could be different.

"The FBI has indicated that they are interested in possibly pursuing that angle, and they are participating with us in the investigation," said Kelly.

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