Hate crime suspect says he is “allergic to black people”

Andy Benavidez, 47, is charged with a hate crime under Iowa law. (Johnson Co. Sheriff)

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWQC) – An Iowa City man is charged with a hate crime after police say he committed an assault “because the victim is black.”

Andy Benavidez, 47, is charged under Iowa Code 708.2C(5) which regards assaults deemed to be “in violation of individual rights.”

Last Sunday police responded to a report of two men fighting and say upon arriving Benavidez was wearing a surgical mask.

A complaint filed in Johnson County, Iowa says Benavidez told police the mask was on because “he is allergic to black people” and that he “doesn’t want their germs.”

The complaint also says Benavidez admitted to police that he struck the other man first and did so “because he is black.”

The offense is a serious misdemeanor which per Iowa Code could carry up to a year in prison.

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