HOUSTON – You’ve probably seen them, or perhaps visited one, a traveling carnival, which is usually set up in the parking lot of a mall.
On Sunday, prosecutors said someone driving through Almeda Mall’s parking lot became the victim of a hate crime when he was attacked by a group of carnival workers.
“The staff at the carnival was pretty upset about where he was driving through. And it’s one of those situations where they could have handled the situation very, very differently. They slashed one of his tires, they’re banging on windows, they’re punching the hood, they’re punching the car itself,” said Chandler Raine, Assistant Harris County District Attorney.
Prosecutors said they began punching and kicking Jaylon Johnson after they pulled him out of his vehicle and yelled racial slurs while they beat him.
“They told him that they do not like Black people. They threatened to hang him while they were there,” Raine said.
A hate crime enhancement was added to the assault charge against Gilbert Herrera, the one carnival worker who police identified and arrested.
“When they’re tormenting any individual based on who they are, we are going to prosecute,” Raine said.
KPRC 2 reached out to the Wagner Carnival for a comment and is awaiting a response. With the hate crime enhancement, Herrera could face anywhere from 180 days up to a year in jail if convicted.