Fairfield couple convicted of racially-motivated assault

Joseph and Georgia Silva

SACRAMENTO — A Fairfield couple was convicted by a federal jury last week in connection with a racially-motivated assault.

The victim and his wife, an Indian-American couple, were at El Dorado Beach in South Lake Tahoe in July 2007 when Joseph and Georgia Silva confronted and attacked them in what the jury determined was a bias-motivated assault.

The evidence at the four-day trial showed that, on the evening of July 14, 2007, Georgia Silva, 52, verbally confronted the Indian-American couple with racial and ethnic slurs. When one of the victims attempted to call the police, Georgia Silva assaulted the victim, knocking him to the ground.

Joseph Silva, 56, then struck the victim and kicked him in the head. As a result of this attack, the victim suffered fractures to his facial bones and other bodily injury and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital.

Witnesses to the incident testified that Georgia Silva used derogatory language toward another man of Asian descent, unrelated to the victim, and spat at the man.

On March 11, the jury acquitted the Silvas of a second assault count related to the victim’s wife, who claimed Georgia Silva struck her with a sandal during the assault on her husband.

“Bias-motivated acts of violence will not be tolerated by the people of the United States,” said Thomas Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division. “As this prosecution demonstrates, the Justice Department is committed to vigorously prosecuting the federal laws prohibiting violent acts motivated by hatred of minorities.”

The case was investigated by the FBI and the South Lake Tahoe Police Department.


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