A San Francisco man who uttered racial slurs before knocking a black man unconscious in a Chico bar has been sentenced to three years in prison for a hate crime and mail fraud.
A federal jury in Sacramento convicted Eric Clawson, 28, of the racially motivated assault in March. He pleaded guilty to the unrelated fraud charge, involving falsified loan documents, before being sentenced earlier this month by U.S. District Judge Morrison England, prosecutors said.
Prosecution witnesses said Clawson, who is white, entered Riley's Bar & Grill with a friend in July 2008, saw Carl Whitfield sitting at the bar and announced, using a racial slur, that he would not sit next to a black person.
Some time later, prosecution witnesses said, Clawson walked up to Whitfield, tapped him on the shoulder and punched him in the face. Whitfield's head hit the bar, and he lost consciousness for 20 to 30 seconds.
Defense lawyers denied the blow was racially motivated and said Clawson had slugged Whitfield after Whitfield pointed at him and made "impolite comments."
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/09/18/BAGH1FG798.DTL#ixzz0zxKloTmB
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