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.