A woman riding her bike in Daytona Beach Monday night was hit by car driven by a man targeting African Americans, police said.Police believe Nekedia Cato, a 25-year-old African American woman, was hit by Thomas Cosby, of Port Orange.
Police said Cosby, 56, slammed into Cato, took out a nearby porch, hit a tree and then rolled three times.”He just hit me because I was black,” Cato said.Cato was riding her bike home from the store on South Atlantic Avenue.
“I actually saw him coming toward me. I tried to move my bike as fast as I [could], but it wasn’t quick enough. He came straight for me,” Cato said.
Police reported that after Cosby crashed, he got out of his car, screaming racist remarks. Cosby repeatedly used the N-word and shouted he wanted to kill black people, authorities said.
“He was screaming out he had to kill all black people because one slept with his wife,” Cato said.
Cato recently moved to the Daytona Beach area with her boyfriend, D.”If he could target me just because of the color of my skin, he could target anybody else,” Cato said.
Cato suffered several broken bones, a broken leg and other injuries. Her leg injury was so severe doctors inserted a metal rod into her leg. Cato could be hospitalized for weeks.
“I'm kind of scared walking down the street because I don't know if people hate me,” Cato said.
Cato just started a new job, but could lose it due to prolonged time in the hospital.
“I don't have hate in my heart, you know, I just don't have hate in my heart,” Cato said.
Cosby is charged with aggravated battery and simple battery under the state's hate crime laws. More severe penalties will follow if Cosby is convicted.Florida's hate crime laws went into effect in 1989, including crimes committed not only due to race, but due to religion, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, or age if over 65 years old.[mashshare]