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Akron chief prosecutor says office 'zealously trying to coordinate' with others to consider hate crime charges in Andrew Walls assault case

In February, video showed Walls punching Cameron Morgan in face after hurling racial slurs. Officials believe hate crime charges would be up to federal prosecutors.

CLEVELAND — Twenty-three-year-old Cameron Morgan and her friends were walking through Akron's Highland Square last February when they crossed paths with an intoxicated 26-year-old Andrew Walls, who was yelling racial slurs outside a bar.

Morgan yelled at Walls to stop as she tried to pass. Video shows Walls turned on Morgan and hurled slurs at her before punching her squarely in the face, leaving her with a busted lip and concussion.

Walls was charged with one count of assault and one count of handling a firearm while intoxicated. According to some reports, Walls aligned himself with the far-right nationalist group known as the Proud Boys. His attack was widely shared on social media and drew condemnation as a hate crime, something authorities promised to investigate.

There was another hearing on Walls' criminal case today in Akron Municipal Court, but he still has not faced hate crimes charges. David Betras, an attorney representing Morgan in a civil case against Walls, is calling on authorities to do more.

"That a person who belongs to the Proud Boys called my client a racial name and then punched her in the face and somehow they are treating this like an ordinary assault case, nobody should be happy," Betras said. "If you don't make an example of this case, it will lead to more things, and that's what's aggravating."

Akron Chief Prosecutor Craig Morgan told 3News Thursday that Ohio does not have a hate crime law similar to the federal one. He says the closest thing is Ohio's ethnic intimidation law—which has five triggers that include criminal damaging, menacing, and mischief—and that Walls assault doesn't apply.

But Morgan claims his office has been "zealously trying to coordinate" with county and federal authorities, and he hopes federal prosecutors will take jurisdiction and examine the case under federal law. A representative from the U.S. Attorney's Office of the Northern District of Ohio did not have an update tonight, nd 3News was unable to reach Walls' attorney for comment.

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