MIAMI – A man who was seen on video holding a gun while slinging racial slurs at a group of black protesters last month in Brickell has been given a new bond.
Mark Bartlett, 51, of Hollywood, was initially charged with carrying a concealed firearm, but Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said there was enough evidence to enhance the charges as a hate crime.
Bartlett appeared with his attorneys in court Tuesday morning as Miami-Dade County Judge Alberto Milian increased his bond to $32,500. He is now charged with three counts of aggravated assault with prejudice, enhanced to a second-degree felony; one count of improper exhibition of a firearm, enhanced to a third-degree felony; and one count of carrying a concealed firearm, which is a third-degree felony.
A video of the incident on Martin Luther King Jr. Day was widely shared on social media and shows the group of teenagers on bicycles arguing with a woman on the Brickell Avenue Bridge. The woman, identified as Dana Scalione, claims one of the boys ran over her foot with his bike, and a screaming match ensues, the video shows.
"Don't touch me, you bunch of thugs," Scalione tells the teens as she walks away from them.
The teens then shout obscenities at her.
Moments later, a man, identified by police as Bartlett, approaches the teens, holding a gun in his hand, the video shows. He begins yelling obscenities and racial slurs at the teens, telling them to leave.
"F---ing stupid n-----s," Bartlett can be heard saying in the video.
The video was posted by Dream Defenders Action, saying the teens were protesting redevelopment of the Liberty Square public housing complex.
Bartlett told Local 10 News he took out his gun because his girlfriend was outnumbered by the teens and he feared for her safety.
Five of the protesters have since filed a lawsuit against the couple, seeking damages for the protesters' "pain and suffering, mental anguish and emotional distress."
"This was not a hate crime," defense attorney Jayne Weintraub told reporters. "We don't have mob justice in America, and we hope that he'll be vindicated in a court of law."
Milian also ordered that Bartlett not have any contact with the teens.
Bartlett's next court date is scheduled for June 24.