A California man was convicted of a federal hate crime for attempting to stab a Black man while on probation for another ‘racially motivated’ assault

This July 5, 2020 photo provided by the Santa Cruz Police Department shows Ole Hougen being taken into custody by police officers in Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz Police Department via AP

  • A man in Northern California was convicted by a jury on Friday of a federal hate crime.

  • The Santa Cruz man was convicted of attempting to stab a Black man while shouting racial slurs.

  • The incident occurred when the man was on probation for another “racially motivated assault.”

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A man in Santa Cruz, California, was convicted by a jury Friday of willfully attempting to cause bodily injury by using a dangerous weapon because of a person’s actual or perceived race and color, a federal hate crime.

According to the Justice Department, 44-year-old Ole Hougen approached a 29-year-old Black man while he was crossing the street in Santa Cruz. Hougen pulled a nine-inch knife from his person and swiped it “multiple times” at the victim’s head, chest, and stomach while he shouted racial slurs at him.

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According to a report from The Associated Press, the victim was not seriously injured in the attack.


At the time of the assault, Hougen was on probation following his entering a plea of no contest related to an assault on a separate “racially motivated” assault on a Black man in 2018, the Justice Department said. In a criminal complaint against Hougen, filed in September 2020, the US Attorney’s Office said Hougen was involved in two other “racially motivated” assaults against Black men in 2014 and again in 2018.

Hougen’s conviction carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and will be sentenced on July 26, accord ing to the Justice Department.


“The FBI worked closely with the Santa Cruz Police Department to bring justice for this shocking, horrific attack,” said Craig Fair, the special agent in charge of the FBI San Francisco Field Office.

He continued: “The FBI will use all authority granted to us by federal law to investigate hate crimes meant to threaten and intimidate an entire community. Acts of hate and racism have no place here and will not be tolerated. I urge members of our community to report any hate incidents to local or federal law enforcement so we can bring offenders to justice.”

US Attorney General Merrick Garland at the end of March, amid a rising number of violent hate crimes against Asian Americans, ordered a 30-day expedited review to examine how the Justice Department “can deploy all the tools at its disposal in support of” the effort to end hate crimes.

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