A 49-year-old white man was arrested in an alleged hate crime which occurred in the street outside his home in Lady Lake.
Joseph Michael O’Keefe was arrested late Saturday night at his home at 253 W. Lakeview St. on a misdemeanor charge of battery. It is being considered a hate crime because of the ethnicity of the victim. When O’Keefe was taken into custody, his wife indicated he had been drinking. His speech was slurred and he “emitted an odor of an alcoholic beverage.”
The New York native had gone into the street and “started yelling profanity and racial slurs” at an individual who was accompanied by his 14-year-old brother, according to an arrest report from the Lady Lake Police Department. They were leaving a friend’s house and got into a vehicle.
The slurs included the “n” word and prompted the driver to stop the car. At that point, O’Keefe charged toward the vehicle. O’Keefe shoved the driver and knocked him over, causing his eyeglasses to fall from his face. The driver defended himself and O’Keefe retreated to his home.
He was taken into custody and booked at the Lake County Jail. He was released after posting $5,000 bond.
O’Keefe was arrested last year after his wife reported that he had attacked her. The charge was later dismissed.