Maine pair ordered to pay $1.25 million for racially motivated attack on Black man

Nov 15, 2023, 9:34 AM

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A pair of white men sentenced to federal prison for breaking a Black man’s jaw in a random attack have been ordered to pay $1.25 million in damages by a state judge.

The judge issued a default judgement against Maurice Diggins and Dusty Leo, of Biddeford, both of whom are in federal custody and weren’t represented by attorneys in the proceeding.

The victim, Daimon McCollum, may never collect the damages but the award “demonstrates that this kind of conduct is abhorrent and won’t be tolerated,” his attorney, Allyson Knowles, said Wednesday.

McCollum was attacked in April 2018 in Biddeford by the men, who taunted and shouted racial slurs from their vehicle before a confrontation in which McCollum was struck in the jaw.

Knowles said Superior Court Justice Richard Mulhern issued a default judgment last month. Leo and Diggins initially participated in the proceedings with letters but then stopped, Knowles said. On Nov. 9, the judge ordered them to pay $750,000 in punitive damages and $500,000 in compensatory damages.

The attack happened after the McCollum family celebrated a college scholarship for one of three kids. Afterward, McCollum walked to a convenience store for a snack when he was accosted by Diggins and his nephew.

Diggins circled McCollum and hurled racial taunts, preventing him from going into the store, while Leo approached and punched him in the jaw, Knowles said. McCollum ran away and the men followed him to his home.

McCollum and his family had originally moved from the Bronx to Maine, in part because of the low crime rate. He has moved away from Biddeford since the assault, his lawyer said.

Diggins, whose tattoos including swastikas and initials “WPWW” for “White Pride World Wide” were discussed at his trial, is serving a 10-year sentence after being convicted of two counts of committing a hate crime and one count of conspiracy.

Leo, who pleaded guilty and received a three-year sentence, is currently residing in a halfway house and is due to be released from federal custody next week, an official said.

National News

Associated Press

Meta makes end-to-end encryption a default on Facebook Messenger

NEW YORK (AP) — Meta is rolling out end-to-end encryption for calls and messages across its Facebook and Messenger platforms, the company announced Thursday. Such encryption means that no one other than the sender and the recipient — not even Meta — can decipher people’s messages. Encrypted chats, first introduced as an optional feature in […]

37 minutes ago

Associated Press

U.S. sanctions money lending network to Houthi rebels in Yemen, tied to Iranian oil sales

WASHINGTON (AP) — Responding to increased attacks on ships in the southern Red Sea by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels, the U.S. announced sanctions against 13 people and firms alleged to be providing tens of millions of dollars from the sale and shipment of Iranian commodities to the Houthis in Yemen. Treasury says that previously sanctioned Houthi […]

39 minutes ago

An Amazon Prime delivery person struggles with packages while making a stop at a high-rise apartmen...

Associated Press

Amazon’s internal plans to advance its interests in California are laid bare in leaked memo

An internal Amazon memo has provided a stark look at the company’s carefully laid out plans to grow its influence in Southern California through a plethora of efforts that include burnishing its reputation through charity work and pushing back against “labor agitation” from the Teamsters and other groups.

50 minutes ago

Associated Press

Last sentencings are on docket in 2020 plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer

BELLAIRE, Mich. (AP) — A judge will hand down the final sentences Thursday in a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, capping a remarkable investigation that broke into public view on the eve of the 2020 presidential election but produced mixed results in court. Shawn Fix and Brian Higgins pleaded guilty earlier this year […]

1 hour ago

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks during an event on prescription drug costs, in the East Room of t...

Associated Press

The White House is threatening the patents of high-priced drugs developed with taxpayer dollars

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration is putting pharmaceutical companies on notice, warning them that if the price of certain drugs is too high, the government might cancel their patent protection and allow rivals to make their own versions. Under a plan announced Thursday, the government would consider overriding the patent for high-priced drugs that […]

3 hours ago

FILE - In this photo combination, U.S. Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, D-Texas, left, speaks during a meet...

Associated Press

AP Election Brief | What to expect in Houston’s mayoral runoff election

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s down to two candidates in the race to lead the nation’s fourth-largest city. U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and state Sen. John Whitmire will face off in Saturday’s runoff election to be the next mayor of Houston. Whitmire and Jackson Lee, both Democrats, were the top two vote-getters in the Nov. […]

5 hours ago

Maine pair ordered to pay $1.25 million for racially motivated attack on Black man