The Maine Attorney General’s Office has filed a civil complaint against two Biddeford men that accuses them of violating the state’s Civil Rights Act during an alleged assault of an African-American man last month.

Dusty Leo, 27, and Maurice Diggins, 34, have been charged criminally with aggravated assault. They also could face up to a year in prison and fines of $2,000 on the civil complaint if they are convicted of committing what prosecutors say was a racially motivated attack on the African-American as he walked toward a convenience store near his home in Biddeford on April 15.

Maurice Diggins, left, and Dusty Leo York County Jail photos

The victim, who is not being named, had never met Leo or Diggins before they drove up in a pickup truck and confronted him, repeatedly using a racial epithet to address him, Attorney General Janet Mills said in a release.

Leo punched the victim in the side of his head, breaking the victim’s jaw, and Diggins hit the victim in the back of his head, causing him to land on the pavement, Mills said.

The victim managed to get up off the ground, with Leo and Diggins chasing him in their truck until he lost them by running down an alley.

“All Mainers should be shocked by this brutal race-based assault,” Mills, a Democratic candidate for governor, said in the release. “This attack has shattered the victim’s sense of safety. No person should be afraid to walk to a store for fear of being attacked due to the color of his or her skin. We filed this action to protect not simply this victim, but any person of color who might be targeted by these defendants.”

The Maine Civil Rights Act, enacted in 1992, prohibits the use of violence, the threat of violence or property damage against any person motivated by that person’s race, color, religion, sex, ancestry, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation. A violation of the act constitutes a Class D crime, punishable by up to 364 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Diggins was being held Tuesday night in the York County Jail on $10,000 cash bail for conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, a jail intake worker said. Diggins also was being held on a probation violation.

Leo, who also was charged with aggravated assault, was released April 23 on $2,500 cash bail. The state’s complaint orders both men to have no contact with the victim or his family.

The Biddeford Police Department investigated the assault.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]

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