The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

FBI May Investigate Apparent Hate Murder of White With Black Friends

By Bill Morlin on October 25, 2012 - 8:25 am, Posted in Anti-Black, Hate Crime

If a white man is attacked and murdered because he was “hanging out” with black friends, should that be investigated as a federal hate crime?

That question looms in Louisiana after 24-year-old Michael Luke “Boulon” Darby was fatally stabbed earlier this month outside a bar in Lafayette, where he had gone with two friends who are African-American.

After leaving the pub on Jefferson Street in the early morning hours of Sunday, Oct. 14, Darby and his two friends were confronted and harassed “by three white guys, who were apparently drunk,” the Eunice News reported. The three men shouted “racial slurs” at Darby, “questioning why he was hanging out with his two black companions,” the newspaper reported.

Darby allegedly “charged one of the three” white men and, when a scuffle ensued, his black friends broke up the fight, the newspaper reported. A few minutes later, Darby was “involved in another altercation” with one of the three white men before telling his two companions to get their vehicle and meet him at a nearby street corner, the newspaper reported. When his friends returned, however, Darby was nowhere to be seen, and they couldn’t find him by driving around the area.

Darby’s body was found during the noon hour on Oct. 15 behind some bushes several blocks from where the initial confrontation occurred. An autopsy determined he died from stab wounds.


Video surveillance footage and witness information led investigators to identify two suspects in the case, authorities say. Kyle James Toups, 24, of Carencro, La., was arrested without incident on Oct. 16 in Newton County, Texas, by agents assigned to the U.S. Marshal’s Violent Offenders Task Force. He is currently being held only on a state charge of second-degree murder. His brother, Travis Toups, 35, of Carencro, La., was arrested Oct. 17 on a charge of accessory to second-degree murder. He has been released on bail, authorities said.

“There’s no doubt this was a racial crime, and there’s no reason why my son should have been murdered because of his friendships,” the victim’s father, Jerry Darby, told Hatewatch yesterday when reached at the family home in Eunice, where he lives with his wife, Linda. Michael, the couple’s only child, was buried following a standing-room-only funeral in his hometown last Friday, Jerry Darby said.


“My son was loved by everybody, and never caused nobody any trouble,” the grieving father said.

Michael Darby was a 2006 graduate of Eunice High School who played football and baseball and ran in track events. Since completing two years at a technical college, he had been steadily employed as an electrician for an offshore drilling company.

After the funeral, his former football teammates permanently retired Darby’s No. 20 high school sports jersey and put “No. 20” stickers on their helmets for the homecoming football game, the victim’s father said.

“These men belittled him and made fun of him because he was hanging out with his two friends who happen to be black,” Jerry Darby said. “To me, yes, that’s a hate crime. There’s no reason you should do that to anybody. We are not animals.”

“We’re Cajun people down here and we’ll give you the shirts off our backs,” added the elder Darby, who is a line crew foreman for a Louisiana power company. “My son was that way, too, and he was no person who started trouble. Color don’t come in our way of thinking. We’re Christian people, not racially involved against anybody.”

Varden Guillory Sr., the deputy police chief in Eunice told Hatewatch he casually knew Michael Darby, had talked with him on a few occasions and described him as being “well-liked.”

“He would just get along with everybody,” said the deputy police chief in the community of 12,000. “This thing, it’s like senseless. There’s no reason to kill somebody just because they’re hanging with friends of a different race.”

The office of Stephanie Finley, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, did not immediately return a call inquiring whether federal authorities would investigate the homicide as a possible hate crime.

However, FBI spokesman Kyle Hanrahan, in New Orleans, said the facts of the case, as described to him, do appear to establish jurisdiction for a federal investigation.

“This would constitute a hate crime,” Hanrahan told Hatewatch. “We are aware of the incident and evaluating whether to initiate a federal investigation. In light of the state charges that have been filed, we don’t necessarily always initiate an investigation where we have jurisdiction if we feel that the matter is being adequately addressed in the state criminal justice system.”

Cpl. Paul L. Mouton, the public information officer for the Lafayette Police Department, told Hatewatch he doesn’t believe the homicide was a hate crime. “In talking with investigators, no, it’s not a hate crime,” Mouton said. “This isn’t being looked at like a hate crime.”

The Lafayette police official said a knife that is the suspected murder weapon has been recovered, but he wouldn’t provide details. Mouton also confirmed that investigators have obtained and examined surveillance footage from several downtown Lafayette businesses as part of the investigation. Investigators have located and questioned several witnesses, and no longer are seeking the third man involved in the initial confrontation with Darby, Mouton said.

  • Misty

    UPDATE: Luke was out numbered and unarmed. Fight admittedly began over the fact that he was with black friends. Now, the boys that murdered him are only being charged with negligent homicide…0-5years. As could be expected, in court, they made his friends out to be villains, thugs, and many other racially charged stereo types. I am appalled. What does this teach our children? How will this divide people of different races? Isn’t this what we have been working a hard to overcome?

  • Reynardine

    Sam, there are often different punishments for different motives. If you run down a pedestrian by accident because you were trying to beat a red light and it was foggy, you’ll likely be charged with manslaughter or vehicular homicide. If you chased him down deliberately because you thought he was screwing your spouse, you’ll face Murder 1, and the same thing if you did it because you thought he was Ruritanian.

  • Sam Molloy

    CM, I support Hate Crimes laws but I can well understand some people’s Constitutional objections to them, because they set a dangerous precedent of different punishments for different motives.

  • Reynardine

    Toups, I’m sorry we seemed to ignore you. Sometimes we get too caught up in our own squabbles.

    Thank you for coming forward, and my heartfelt sympathy to you. I am related to people no better, and maybe so are many of us. If it was a little further back sometimes, that is sheer chance. It doubtless took courage to come here, but if you can help us to understand, that would be a valuable contribution.

  • Reynardine

    “The German girl is a subject. She becomes a [second-class] citizen only when she marries.”- you know who.

    *That* sums up the attitude of the Republican Party (all right, just change the nationality)

  • aadila


    You’re probably right about the reasons why Romeny Inc has been so vicious in quelling discussion about the Mormon faith.

    But I think part of it too is because many Catholics, who have deep doctrinal rifts with the Mormon faith (not the least of which is posthumous baptism by proxy), only reluctantly supported his campaign. I believe Romney knows quite well without Catholics his campaign is dead in the water (this by the way from my many astute Catholic friends).

    I’m by no means against Mormonism or any faith for that matter, but I tend to agree that the pre-emptive attacks against any social criticism on gender roles within the context of Mormonism are likely one and the same with male supremacy, just as with fundamentalist Protestants in the Bible Belt.

  • Erika

    Its hardly a surprise that the Republicans are anti-women when the fact that their Presidential candidate Mitt Romney comes from a religion where women are literally second class citizens.

    In fact, the Republicans know that if people really understood what the Mormon Church believes about women that Mitt Romney is toast – that is why they have preemptively attacked any discussion of Mormon beliefs as being “anti-Mormon prejustice.” Naturally this belief in male supremacy creates common ground with the rest of the religious right who believes the same thing.

    But that really should be the Republican Motto:

    “We Believe that Women are Second Class Citizens”

  • aadila

    “Like with prosepctive Senator Mourdock’s “Rape-Is-A-Gift-From-God” comments”.

    Hear hear!

    Republicans: the Party of Pro-Rape.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Don’t work folks. Inside John is thinking “CRAP! South Park LIED to me!!”

  • Ithink

    “Let me offer an opposing point of view. The concept of ‘hate crime’ does not do any good, and does do some harm. It should be dropped.”
    ~I’m glad you offered it and want to debate it reasonably; while there have been any number of false alarms or claims by otherwise disturbed victims regarding hate crime charges, that doesn’t disregard the thousands of actual bias based crimes that happen to individual Americans every year, reported and non-. Like with prosepctive Senator Mourdock’s “Rape-Is-A-Gift-From-God” comments regarding the legality of abortion and women’s rights to choose, such a reactionary legislative change would have disastrous and delterious effects to the 28,000+ girls or women who are raped in a year, and would have to carry and care for that baby by government force. In-vitro fertilization, incest and the potential death of the mother in question apparently be damned, to say nothing of the marginalized groups that are the primary targets of these crimes.~

    “The concept does not help the society or justice system in deterring or punishing crimes. It does not contribute socially in helping to overcome racial, or other bigotries. It does, however, offer comfort to the bigots and racists who use the existence of hate-crime legislation to support and justify their claims of victimhood.”
    That may be true in a few specific instances, but as a whole, this is an argument that feeds straight into the radical right propaganda machine of punishing so-humorously decried’thought crimes’ and creating the narrative where nobody ever experiences discrimination, prejudice or hatred for an inmutable characteristic (race,class,gender, religion,etc.) Before we had The Civil Rights, Fair Housing and Voting Rights Act of the 60’s and Obama’s recent signing of the James Byrd Hate Crime Pact, we had countless blacks, and even hispanics and white jews, who were the victims of lynching in addition to Jim Crow segregation and second-class subjugation and terror in every facet of American society, to say nothing of the nativist immigration policies and religious fundamentalists who tried to impose a softer form of state sanctioned fascism regarding women, non-Protestant/Evangelical believers and the like. We can argue all day that Hate Crime legislation doesn’t ‘stop the crimes’ in question (they do, and there have been historical and empirical evidence strongly supporting, make it less likely with proper government enforcement), but try telling that to any of the marginalized minority groups who have faced decades of institutionalized disenfranchisement. If the laws seem unfair to you, they probably DON’T even apply to you (especially if you happen to self-identify as a heterosexual white Christian male) so its probably not your place to complain about them in a country and world that’s been more than over-zealous in granting you privilege.~

    “The problem is that hate crimes are that most heinous type of law: the thought-crime.They depend not on what a person does, but on what they think, on what are their internal social or political views.”
    ~How right-wingers, and even some self-declared lefties, could POSSIBLY keep coming to this illogical and ill-determined assessment of hate crime legislation, to say nothing of the even more hot-button topic of affirmative action, is beyond educated thinking. First of all, ALL crime in question has an inherent bias or thought that preceded it; when you go to court and a jury over this stuff, particularly murders, there must be evidence presented in favor of declaring the party guilty whether empirical or otherwise. If you’re a neo-nazi or skinhead involved in any black or other racial minorities murder (James Byrd), a young ‘Christian’ and bigoted fundie justifying the murder of an LGBT community member (Matthew Sheppard) or high-powered corporate man beating your wife within a fraction of her life on a daily, and there’s ANYTHING relative indicating you guilty to the public at large of you doing it, you bet your annual salary its a ‘thought’ crime, but than again, so are all the others if we recall the most all action, whether conscious or not, are preceeded by some sort of thought, and never more so than in the case of doing objective evil…~

    “Why create this self-inflicted wound? Why not just charge criminals with murder, assault, or other crime, then use their motives or beliefs are aggravating factors in sentencing?”
    ~Why don’t we ask that to the individuals and society at large that continues to perpetuate these same crimes generation after generation and ourselves why we allow discrimination, bigotry, prejudice and so many other dark bedfellows of human nature’s uglier underbelly rule our social discourse and relation to the word around us? Nobody asks for these things to happen to them, and continuing to let them occur unpunished only creates GREATER tension, resentment and discontent between races, genders, religions, orientations and the like because events like these make and enforce an “us against them” narrative that can make it an anomaly for civililty and order to operate. We didn’t have all these reform, human rights or advocacy groups throughout the past for nothing and the work clealry isn’t done when events like this rear their ugly head. This is actually a case where white people, the de facto majority in the U.S. and much of the Western world for now, are on complete equal standing in the context of the ‘hate crime’ and federal statutes as well. How ironic is it than that the same crime so many White Right-Wingers of the reactionary stripe so decry would actually bring due justice and resolve should they or anyone under that racial classification, God forbid, find themselves in the unfortunate pair of shoes Mike Darby was here. There simply is no excuse or good enough explanation why this shouldn’t be investigated and charged as a hate crime; lest we ever wish to see a true ‘post-racial’ America after the rise of President Obama where we have had enough of hate and the completely irresponsible and incompetent haters that want to continue boiling the pot of it.~

    “Aside from helping the self-justification of reactionaries, hate-crime law does at least one other serious harm. It causes us to seek out racial antecedents to every violent crime, even if there is none. In any community with racial tensions, this is an unwelcome focus. And it plays the game of the racialists, where every crime involving persons of differing races must have a racial dimension.”
    ~No, their just mad when karma and the better angels of humanity makes them stuff their cake and eat it, too. Most of the people who are in favor of repealing and not granting ‘those OTHERS’ due rights are of course, the reason we need them in the first place. More power to the victims and their fellow minorities looking for justice and equal opportunity in a planet that has become about everything but being that. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time…~

  • Reynardine

    Also, someone who signs as “John”, wishes to be identified either as male, or as a toilet. Plunk your ASSumptions down on that one, John.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “.I don’t fit this mold, ergo you don’t know how to peg me, hence the baseless statements..”

    Based on the statements you provided, people quite rightly pegged you as a right winger, if not something of a concern troll. You attack hate crime laws, using arguments very similar to those of typical right wingers, and also display the same kind of beliefs about hate crime laws which right wing pundits propagate.

    Since this is the ONLY material we have from you, it is only logical that people assume you are some sort of conservative. In other words, people infer based on the data available. You certainly haven’t said anything to differentiate yourself from the right, especially with your “look how fanatical leftists are”-type comments.

    Various posters have shown again and again that you clearly don’t understand what hate crimes laws do, and several people including myself were kind enough to explain it to you.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    “1. the term “hate crime” is a joke..whatever laws deal with assaults or murder against gay or black people, being those laws are used and they are, should suffice”

    Ok cool. Let’s make it so judges can’t consider motive at all in cases while we’re at it. So murder will be murder whether you did it due to provocation and extreme emotional distress or whether you planned to kill someone in cold blood. Assault will be assault whether you jumped someone or stepped in to protect a friend. Brilliant!

  • Gregory

    John sez “This being the case, you have all been unwitting participants in a mental study at your expense. Thanks for playing along :)”

    If you were more than 16 you would realize that this is one of the oldest and lamest clichés on the intertubes.

  • aadila

    Actually, John, that’s not what you said.

    Your original argument was that hate crime laws cause more harm and that they should be abolished. The question of what would happen if the laws were abolished was already implied in your original statement, because, a priori in your argument, removing the laws would remedy an alleged harm.

    It would, in your words, end “a politically correct joke”. There is really no other way to interpret what you said.

    Now, having been handed your hat so to speak by people who are better informed about the law and its effects, you turn around and claim that the issue is one of bias against you. That you have exposed some hidden agenda. That all along what you were really trying to do is offer opposition to progressive orthodoxy, and thereby prove some hidden bias when we disagree.

    However, if you would kindly go back and re-read my “inference”, there was no comment about you before you began the wild accusations.

    I stated merely that it would be a banner day for racists and haters. There was no implied slur against you or your views. There was nothing at all but an objective rejoinder to your observation.

    So now, having been unable to substantiate your original claim that hate crime laws cause harm, you have attempted to prove we are merely reactionaries who jumped to conclusions about you.

    If your “hunch” was that we would quickly prove you wrong when you present a fallacious argument, yes, I agree, that is a safe hunch. But the mere fact of being proved wrong implies nothing more than you failed to argue your point.

    In short, dearie, your claims of “inferences” against your person simply do not proceed from the facts. That, I think is merely sour grapes.

  • Erika

    It looks like scared little boy John reached the “I’m going to claim that I did this on purpose and therefore won” portion of his tantrum.

  • John

    adamhill, thanks for answering the question..I already knew what the answer would be if said laws were abolished..i just wanted to prove my hunch and hear it from one of you…til next time…

  • adamhill


    Broadly speaking, if hate crimes (crimes motivated by bias toward specific groups of people) were “abolished” then those crimes would not be treated as differentially more serious than ones where bias toward specific groups of people was not a factor. Categorizing crimes that are superficially similar as more or less serious based on the motivation of perpetrators is a conventional part of the criminal code. Categorizing some crimes as “hate crimes” is intended at least in part to reduce bias-motivated crimes in society. I’m not sure what you mean by “indicate mandatory attacks on minorities”, but if you are asking if attacks on minorities would increase if hate crimes were “abolished”, I’d respond that there are too many factors contributing to such crimes to know with any certainty. It’s certainly plausible. Eliminating hate crime statutes would send the message that government no longer considers bias-motivated crimes to be any worse than others, with the implication that a skinhead murder (like that of Mulugeta Seraw) is no different than a random street fight gone bad.

  • John

    What it all boils down to is this: I’m neither a right winger nor a leftist yet you ASSume I’m the former b/c of a statement taken out of context…This social circle is used to dealing w/ commentray from ignorant righties so hence your ASSumptions..I don’t fit this mold, ergo you don’t know how to peg me, hence the baseless statements..

    Also, my name is not John nor am I Caucasian..I’ve always wanted to get inside the mind of “leftists” who exhibit an identical zealotry in their beliefs much like a right winger whether they realize it or not.

    This being the case, you have all been unwitting participants in a mental study at your expense. Thanks for playing along :)

  • CM

    John, read my first comment on this thread, especially the last three paragraphs. That’s my argument in favor of hate crime laws, and I’m sticking with it.

    In the meantime, you might study up on the difference between a statement and a question, because you seem to show some confusion about that in your point No. 2.

  • aadila

    John, now you’ve had your hissy fit you can go sulk away and glare at everyone. As Gregory already pointed out all I said was ending hate crime laws would bring joy to the racists and haters.

    That must have struck a nerve, because all of a sudden you explode and start projecting your issues on everybody, calling people right wingers, saying I don’t know my own gender, saying Erika is the same person. I mean, what’s up with that? You even tried to verbally bitch slap Ruslan and CM…which is definitely not a good idea. Not to mention Reynardine.

    I’m sorry you are so upset honey but the cognitive dissonance in your remarks is a clear indicator that not all is well with your head. I could be mistaken, but i don’t think you’ve managed for all your bellowing to convince anyone otherwise.

  • John

    aadilla, i’m done w/ have nothing to offer

    CM, my post is very coherent and aadilla’s inferences are off base. what i meant by my statement is that a criminal should be punished for crimes against another person and that a person’s race or sexuality shouldn’t be a factor..

    Why? it’s very easy for said “hate crimes” to become a “boy who cried wolf” situation.. now to address your questions:

    1. the term “hate crime” is a joke..whatever laws deal with assaults or murder against gay or black people, being those laws are used and they are, should suffice

    2. I’m not familiar w/ any National Front sites…and you realize what you just did by stating that, right? you ASSumed

  • Erika

    aadila, only on the ones to hostile witnesses ;)

    And it seems like you’ve attracted an unwanted admirerer in John. “Banana” related issues definitely appear present in this one.

    CM, i probably just use them because its never too late to have a happy childhood (actually adolesence in this case) :)

    John, everything since aadila’s original reply to you has been nothing but protest. You have about the same level of charm and content as a toddler throwing a temper tantrum.

  • aadila

    John honey if you can’t tell if you are male or female, there may be people here to help…but you are going about it all wrong!

    Why don’t you start here:

  • John

    Let’s look at this from a different perspective..What if hate crime laws were abolished? would that necessarily indicate mandatory attacks on minorities? what do all of you fear if such an event occured? I ask this out of curiosity more than anything b/c the mere mention of such a thing has really bought your tempermental sides out and has led to baseless assumptions…much to my amusement I might add..this is almost like talking to right wingers

  • Reynardine

    In fact, John, you have said not one damned thing that indicates legal background, intellectual depth, or a serious interest in anything. You appear to simply be buzzing around people’s ears just to disrupt conversation, so…

    Come here,

    little mosquito,



  • CM


    Nothing really “wrong” with emoticons, but they do have somewhat the same qualities as outdated slang. : þ

  • John

    also aadilla, how do you know I’m even male? I could be a female..remember this is the if aadilla is an actual stop trying to be coy..and yes I do like bananna pudding but I don’t drink alcohol so Gregory will have to find another beer pong buddy

  • John

    aadilla, no I don’t pick on women so stop w/ the ASSumptions…Gregory, Erika hardly demolished anything..She’s jumping to conclusions regarding my original statement..Of course people should be punished for their crimes regardless who the victim’s the non-labeling of the victim that has all of you in an uproar…nor am I protesting anything Erika…please state where I sounded like I’m protesting..I’m merely offering an OPINION albeit one unpopular w/ the little social circle on here

  • aadila

    Just for the record, Erika, have you ever put a smiley or used a glitter pen on a subpeona? :o

  • Gregory

    Well done, Erika. That has got to be the most thoughtful troll demolition that I have read in ages.

    Absent any intellectual content, all that John has to offer is smirking immaturity. He is out of his depth here and should return to a more suitable pursuit, like beer pong.

  • Erika

    CM, what is wrong with using emoticons? Next, are you going to tell me that dotting the i in Erika with a little heart is unacceptable? Okay, maybe its unacceptable for signing letters to opposing parties or for court pleadings so maybe for those especially the ones threatening to sue them if they do not fix the illegal things they are doing i should use a little smiley face. Also is pastel pink or purple paper acceptable for such letters? Please let me know exactly what the proper equiette is in this area because they simply did not teach it in law school ;)

  • aadila

    John, you adorable little banana pudding, you can think anything you like. My guess is you like to pick on women. I have a little theory about that which Erika and I have discussed before, so I won’t repeat it. By the way the gay men on this thread are ten times more of a man then you will ever be. Given a choice of them or the likes of you, I’ll side with them any day…at least they’re fun! You’re just a pathetic whimp.

  • Erika

    John, you wouldn’t know levity if it came up and bit you in the butt. Oh, maybe that is an assumption, but its an assumption based upon the evidence of your previous posts.

    And for the record, i’m much less nice than aadila. So beware because while aadila is a sweetheart i’m a mean girl :P

    And honey please – if you were a Teabagger or White Nationalist you would make more sense. As it is you basically seem incoherent and for someone who is claiming to not be a Teabagging White Nationalist you simply protest too much. Thus my conclusion is that you are in fact a Teabagging White Nationalist – and a very dumb one at that who has absolutely nothing to offer other than animosity.

    Try to understand this, sweetie – hate crimes are not punishing people simply for hating – they are punishing actions. Okay, there have been some cases where the action probably should not have been criminal (See, Virginia v. Black where the Grand Wizard of some branch of the KKK was convicted for burning a cross at a Klan meeting on private property with the owner’s permission. Note that at the Supreme Court level this csae was argued with another which should have been criminal the other case was an appeal where some drunk teenagers tried but failed to burn a cross on a black family’s yard – in that case, the criminal conviction is proper. In both cases, the Virginia statute involved punished burning a cross with intent to intimidate and created a presumption that if you burned a cross you like so totally obviously must have had the intent to intimidate so you are guilty. Of course, the Supreme Court said its Constitutional, so it must be like so totally proper ;) ).

    Now the question with hate crime laws is it proper to have a separate crime to punish violent criminal assaults – that is what we are talking about. To deny that these laws are designed to address violent criminal assaults is to be completely obtuse. Now some people here argue that there should be such a crime – my opinion is that the motive of hatred to avoid legitimate problems with a fair trial which will come when the defendant’s hatred is an element of the crime is that such cases should be treated at sentencing. There is actually a model for such trials because much more is properly admissible at sentencing than at trial.

    There was actually a recent case U.S. v. Cunningham out of the Third Circuit which dealt with admissibility of evidence showing the crime itself. In that case, the crime was possession and distribution of child pronography. The defense was a some other dude defense and the defense stipulated that there were illegal child pronography images found on the defendant’s computer. The prosecution naturally wanted to parade before the jury as much of the vile images as possible. The prosecution in fact did parade some extraordinary vile images and of course they got exactly the effect they were looking for – a conviction and long prison sentence. Interesting case regarding admissibility of evidence – definitely worth checking out.

    Now that relates definitely to hate crime cases – the evidence showing that a crime is a hate crime is likely to be highly prejudicial to the jury. That is where the problem with hate crime laws if there is a problem exists. It is not in the sentencing.

    One possibility for hate crimes to address this issue is a two part trial – in the first part, the trial can determine if the defendant committed the assault or murder -in the second part, the defendant’s can be determined to have acted out of malice. That would eliminate some of those issues and still allow for enhanced setencing.

    However to John it is not the fact that there are people who run around wearing riduculous “ghost costumes” of white robes and pointed hoods that is a problem – and that those people sometimes commit crimes out of their racial bias – it is that those people are getting punished for said crimes. Perhaps John would prefer going back to the days where people could commit violent crimes against minorities (and likely rape women as well) without being punished.

    John’s concern trolling speaks volumes indeed.