The DC/Maryland/Virginia (DMV) areas are already on high alert in anticipation of the one year anniversary of the violent Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally. So much so that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has already declared a state of emergency.
That does little to comfort Ketchazo Paho, a Black man who says he was subjected to an unprovoked assault and barrage of racial epithets in Georgetown early Monday morning.
Paho says he was hit in the head with a metal bicycle lock as Maxim Smith, 24, who is white, screamed at him while calling him the N-word. Now, Smith is facing possible hate crime charges, reports WJLA.
According to Paho, he was driving on his way home on Monday when he saw a man on a bicycle who had stopped in the middle of the road. Paho honked his horn. Smith in turn looked backwards and shouted, “what do you want?”
As Paho tried to maneuver his car around the cyclist, Smith allegedly used his bike lock to damage the passing car. Paho called 911 and left the vehicle to inspect the damage which is when he says Smith became even more aggressive, stating, “What are you going to do ni**er?
Paho was able to grab Smith’s bike to ensure he didn’t get away before police arrived, but in doing so, Smith was able to hit Paho in the head with the metal lock. The attack caused Paho to suffer from a head wound and massive blood loss. He would eventually need 18 staples.
It allegedly took responding Metropolitan Police Department officers 30 minutes to respond whereupon they arrested Smith who was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. By Thursday morning, he was released from jail and is currently out on house arrest pending trial.
The incident is also being investigated as a hate crime.
“What happened to me Monday is not foreign,” said Paho to the New York Times.
A gathering of hate
Police are not sure if Smith was in town for the Unite the Right rally in D.C., which will take place on Aug. 12 at Lafayette Park and took place in Charlottesville last year. A second permit for a counter-protest has also been issued.
Knowing his size (6’4 and 260 lbs.) and his race could potentially revert his victimhood, Paho intentionally took a passive role in the encounter. He is now speaking out to warn people of color to be aware of the dangers that the “Unite the Right” rally could bring.
His attorney, Lee Merritt issued this statement:
“We insist that law enforcement and the District of Columbia employ every means available to prevent further attacks by supremacist against unsuspecting citizens. Law enforcement’s failure to take appropriate action last year during the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville resulted in the death of Heather Heyer and violent attacks against many citizens including this office’s client— DeAndre Harris. Every measure possible must now be taken to ensure that D.C. does not see a repeat of the violence of last year. It has already begun.”
Here is some additional information from Merritt (right) and Paho (left):