Man convicted for assault and hate crime against police officer

Robert Vaughn (Courtey photo)

By Cody Mello-Klein |

A jury convicted Robert Vaughn, 34, an Alexandria-resident, for assault and battery of a law enforcement officer, assault and battery on the basis of race and petit larceny on Aug. 19, according to a news release. Senior Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Patrick O’Brien prosecuted.

According to the release, evidence presented at the trial established that Vaughn entered a local convenience store, ate food that he did not pay for and then fell asleep. Alexandria Police Department officers arrived at the store, woke Vaughn and asked him to pay for the items. Vaughn refused.

Vaughn then became aggressive and started uttering racial slurs, targeting one of the police officers because of the officer’s race, according to the release. The officers arrested Vaughn for petit larceny and intoxication and placed him in a police cruiser, where, lying flat on his back, Vaughn kicked an officer twice in the chest while continuing to shout racial slurs, according to the release. The release did not say when the incident occurred.

The jury recommended that Vaughn serve a total of 2 years in incarceration: 18 months in the penitentiary for the assault and battery charge and six months in jail for the assault and battery on the basis of race, religious conviction, color or national origin charge. The jury also recommended Vaughn pay a $50 fine for the petit larceny charge, according to the release.

Under Virginia law, a jury recommends a sentence to the presiding judge, but the judge has final say on the sentence. The judge will pronounce a formal sentence at a hearing on Oct. 17.