Two brothers charged in Oxford hate crime

Two white brothers were charged with aggravated menacing, assault and ethnic intimidation — Ohio’s classification of a hate crime, and a fifth-degree felony — after allegedly shouting racial slurs and brandishing a knife last Saturday to block two Black men from entering an apartment building on the south side of Oxford.

The fight of four involved two residents at the small apartment building at 4174 Indian Trace Drive. It had dissipated by the time officers arrived at the scene, according to responding officer Ptl. Matt Hardin’s written statement.

“When I arrived on scene, I met Marvaughn Johnson and Gerard Miller in the parking lot in front of the building entrance,” Hardin wrote. “Johnson and Miller stated that they arrived at Johnson’s building and were met in the parking lot by Michael and Jeff Fox. Johnson and Miller stated that the Fox brothers began calling them racial slurs and told them to ‘(expletive) off.’ Johnson verbally stated that Fox’s girlfriend, Brandy Hull, was also walking through the parking lot and when she tried to interject in the verbal altercation one of the Fox brothers called her a ‘(expletive) lover.’”

The expletive used was a racial slur, according to the police report.

27-year-old Johnson and 33-year-old Miller told Hardin the altercation was verbal until the two friends tried to get into the apartment building where Johnson and Michael Fox lived. Johnson and Miller said Michael and Jeffrey Fox, ages 52 and 51 respectively, stood in front of the doorway and, once Johnson and Miller tried to get through, one of the Fox brothers brandished a knife and warded the friends away from the building and into the parking lot.

“Johnson and Miller both stated that the Fox brothers blocked the entrance into the building and continued to call them ‘(racial expletives)’ and kept the knife out as [if] he was going to stab Johnson and Miller. Johnson stated he and Miller backed off until Michael and Jeff were no longer in the apartment entrance. Neither Johnson nor Miller saw where Michael and Jeff Fox went after they backed away,” Hardin wrote.

After speaking with Johnson and Miller, Hardin got the story from Hull, who added that she thought the brothers drove away, but also that her son and grandchildren were in Michael Fox’s apartment and she didn’t have the key to get in. Hardin later knocked on Fox’s apartment door to no answer. Meanwhile, officer Richard Butler went to the back of the apartment building and noticed Hull’s son, Samuel Contreras, who was locked in the room with his two infant children. Eventually, Hardin went around back to make contact with Contreras.

“Contreras told me that when he went to let me in the apartment, Michael Fox stood in the doorway and told him he couldn’t open the door and told him to not let the police in,” Hardin wrote.

Following the new details of the Fox brother’s whereabouts and the proximity of bystanders, SWAT units were called to the scene, who eventually retrieved Contreras and his two children through the ground-floor window before arresting the Fox brothers “without incident.”

In custody, Michael Fox gave Hardin his account of what had happened that night.

“Michael Fox stated that he went to pick up Brandy Hull, who he identified as his girlfriend, at her job on Miami University’s campus,” Hardin wrote. “When he arrived at 0155, Fox stated that she was not there so he returned to the apartment. Fox stated that Hull was in the parking lot when he arrived back at the apartment and he went inside and went to bed.”

Jeff and Michael Fox were taken to the Butler County jail and face charges of assault, aggravated menacing and ethnic intimidation.

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