Man sentenced to read lynching essay in ‘peace circle’ for attacking black teen with noose
An Illinois man on Wednesday was sentenced to two years of probation and told to write an essay about lynching after he assaulted an African-American teen with a noose in 2011.
In January, Chicago police arrested 19-year-old Matthew Herrmann for putting a noose around the neck of a Brother Rice High School student, calling him the [n-word] and threatening him with a knife. Police said that the victim had been lured into a home and threatened by Herrmann and two other younger teens because they wanted him to stop talking to a white girl.
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.
“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.”
Watch this video from WLS, broadcast Jan. 26, 2013.
Watch this video from the Chicago Tribune, broadcast Feb. 27, 2013.