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Seal Beach man charged with hate crimes for allegedly threatening and spitting on gay couple

An 18-year-old Seal Beach man was charged on Tuesday, Dec. 12 with hate crimes for allegedly threatening and spitting on a gay couple in a beach parking lot last month.
Samuel Blake Wickwire is facing two felony counts each of criminal threats and violation of civil rights, with a sentencing enhancement for hate crimes. He faces up to six years in prison if convicted, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
His co-defendant, Wade James Rutledge, 27, of Seal Beach was charged on Dec. 5 and has pleaded not guilty to one felony count each of dissuading a witness by force or threat and hate crime assault. Rutledge faces up to seven years if convicted.
At about 7 p.m. on Nov. 3, prosecutors said, Wickwire and Rutledge approached two men in a parking lot near 10th Street and Ocean Avenue in Seal Beach and made derogatory remarks about the couple’s same-sex relationship.
The pair then threatened the couple with violence if they did not leave, prosecutors said.
Authorities said Wickwire spit on one of the victims, while Rutledge is accused of grabbing the victim’s phone out of his hand to prevent him from calling 911. Prosecutors said Rutledge then gave back the phone but told the victim to “leave and not call the police.”
As the couple got in their car to leave, Rutledge shoved one victim into the passenger seat and slammed the door on the man’s arm while yelling at them to hurry and leave, prosecutors said.
Seal Beach police investigated the case and identified Rutledge, who was arrested in a Seal Beach parking lot on Dec. 3. Wickwire was identified through further investigation and arrested on Dec. 10 in Seal Beach.
Source: Oc Register

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