This is a rather disturbing story. 19 year old Matthew Herrmann was arrested in January for luring a black student into a house, putting a noose around his neck, calling him a nigger and threatening him with a knife, all to get him to stop talking to a white girl. And he was allowed to plead guilty to a much lesser charge and get a bizarre sentence:
Herrmann had been charged with felony counts of committing a hate crime, but a judge on Wednesday agreed to a plea deal that lets him off with two years of probation for pleading guilty to a misdemeanor.
Criminal Court Judge James Linn said that Herrmann would also have to write an essay on the history of lynching in the U.S. and then read it in a “peacemaking circle” with victims, family, clergy and school counselors.
Herrmann doesn’t seem to have any understanding of the problem:
They didn’t give me a word count,” Herrmann told the Chicago Tribune. “I guess I’ll just do a three-page average paper that I would do for school.”
But the teen also said that the entire incident was “largely” blown out of proportion.
“Because as the judge said, he didn’t even feel it was a racial thing,” Herrmann pointed out. “He felt it was a personal thing.”
I don’t care what the motivation was, there needs to be jail time. This sentence is absurd.