Kenneth Schmidt pumped his fist in the air in victory after the verdict was read at 12:30 p.m.
His daughter, Amy Sue Schmidt, wiped a tear from her eye and smiled.
Once released from the courtroom Schmidt grabbed his daughter in a bear hug, then charged down the courthouse stairs yelling "not guilty," as he continued to pump his fist in the air.
The 56-year-old man was charged with ethnic intimidation and malicious destruction of a building under $200 following a May 8, 2012, incident at the Williamsburg Court Apartments, 1106 Beacon Boulevard.
An African American man had just finished painting an apartment and had left to move some supplies. When he returned 10 minutes later he found someone had written on the wall, "We don't want any n****** working here."
Schmidt, who lived at another building in the complex, had been in this particular building to help a relative move in to her new apartment.
Police used handwriting to connect Schmidt to the incident.
"We were familiar with him," said Det. Bryan Tiethof of the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety.
Prosecuting Attorney John Scheuerle said he thought they had a compelling case.
"I'm disappointed in the verdict," he said. "But, as always, I respect the jury's verdict."
Read the complete story in Saturday's Tribune and e-edition.