Steamboat man accused of bias-motivated crime |

Steamboat man accused of bias-motivated crime

Police say white man assaulted Hispanic man Monday

Jeremiah Christopher Rule

— The Routt County District Attorney's Office plans to file a misdemeanor hate-crime harassment charge against a man police say was involved in a fight Monday evening.

According to an affidavit filed in Routt County Court by Steamboat Springs Police Department Sgt. Sam Silva, a Hispanic man called police after he said he was assaulted in the 2400 block of Lincoln Avenue at about 7:45 p.m.

Police think Steamboat resident Jeremiah Christopher Rule, 38, who is white, got into a fight with the man. Rule told police that the man he was arguing with would leave his truck running near his home.

"The noise from the truck irritated him," according to the affidavit.

The Hispanic man told police that Rule yelled at him about his truck being too loud, according to the affidavit. The man got out of the truck and "asked Rule what his problem was" and Rule then called the man a "(expletive) Mexican" and "(expletive) illegal." The man told police that Rule then shoved him in the chest and punched him in the face.

The man reportedly did not fight back, left the scene and called police.

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According to the affidavit, Rule denied touching the man, but police talked to Rule's son, who witnessed the incident. He told police that he saw his dad push the man and it caused the man to have a bloody nose.

Police said they think Rule had been drinking alcohol.

"His balance was poor; he had bloodshot watery eyes, slurred speech and an odor of alcoholic beverage on his breath," Silva stated in the affidavit.

Rule was arrested and booked into Routt County Jail after the incident on suspicion of Class 1 misdemeanor third-degree assault.

Jennifer Wunsch, with the DA's office, said the third-degree assault charge had been filed and that there would be an additional Class 1 charge of misdemeanor harassment. Colorado law refers to the hate-crime charge as a bias-motivated crime.

Rule was advised of his rights Tuesday in Routt County Court, and Judge James Garrecht set bail at $1,500. Rule said he planned to make bail, and he could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

— To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email

Colorado’s law

A person commits a bias-motivated crime if, with the intent to intimidate or harass another person because of that person’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, physical or metal disability, or sexual orientation, he or she:

■ (a) Knowingly causes bodily injury to another person; or

■ (b) By words or conduct, knowingly places another person in fear of imminent lawless action directed at that person or that person’s property and such words or conduct are likely to produce bodily injury to that person or damage to that person’s property; or

■ (c) Knowingly causes damage to or destruction of the property of another person.

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