SHERIDAN — Sheridan Police Department officials notified the Federal Bureau of Investigation of a recent hate crime in a local bar.
A Nebraska man charged with battery for punching another man in the face pleaded guilty in Sheridan County Circuit Court Sept. 21.
Court documents said at around 11:05 p.m. on Sept. 20, officers responded to a victim reporting getting punched in the face at The Mint Bar. Upon arrival, the officer noted a red and swollen lower lip and a scratch that was bleeding on the victim’s chin. The victim explained he was speaking with a gentleman at the bar about the man’s shirt when another man, later discovered to be Casey Moon, punched him in the face “at least two times.” The victim was not speaking to or interacting with Moon prior to being punched.
The officer questioned Moon, and Moon declined to make a statement. Reports said Moon made several comments while in the presence of officers referring to the victim as a “fairy,” also stating to an officer “he had it coming, that homo.”
Moon, from Nebraska originally, was visiting Sheridan for work and stated he had no plans to return to Sheridan and would not appear in court if issued a citation. Moon was subsequently arrested for battery and transported to the Sheridan County Detention Center. While en route to the jail, reports said Moon stated, “I can’t believe that little homo son of a b—- is going to press charges on me.”
Moon pleaded guilty in circuit court on Sept. 21 and was sentenced to five days in jail with two days credit.
Wyoming currently has no statutes addressing hate crimes. Lt. Tom Ringley with the Sheridan Police Department said it did appear that a hate crime did take place, which is why the incident was reported to the FBI. SPD fowarded the case to the Sheridan County Attorney’s office to make the decision on how to proceed with charges. Ringley said the attorney’s office decided the fastest path to closure was to take care of the case locally instead of charge the man with a federal hate crime.
Ringley said in the past five years, SPD has only seen two incidents related to hate crimes — the Moon case and the Dylan Dygert and Jacob Olson cases from May 2016.
In the Dygert and Olson cases, 4th Judicial District Court dismissed the two cases of aggravated assault and battery after the two men allegedly assaulted a man outside the Beaver Creek Saloon. The victim told law enforcement he got into an argument with them regarding a racial remark Olson made, then the trio headed outside and the victim was assaulted by both Dygert and Olson. Court documents indicate the two cases were dismissed without prejudice, and new cases were opened for Dygert and Olson in circuit court for misdemeanor reckless endangering.
Ringley said the FBI was made aware of the Moon case, but SPD has not heard back from the agent to whom they reported the incident. The report is made in order for the FBI to monitor situations for statistics.
This crime, involving two out-of-state visitors, happened a week after Sheridan City Council sat through more than an hour of dialogue from citizens regarding a proposed anti-discrimination resolution that would amend the city’s policies concerning employees and potential employees.
“The most recent assault and the (Olson/Dygert) case shows that people still do spew hate and are motivated by hate for people different from themselves when they speak and when they act in the community,” citizen and co-author of the proposed resolution Dawn Sopron said. “We believe that the resolution is the first step at least to opening up this conversation and being that Wyoming is the Equality State, we would really like it to be the Equality State in our attitudes and our behaviors.”