Racist graffiti trial starts today

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:14 PM

Schmidt is accused of writing a hateful message - which included the n-word - at the Williamsburg Court Apartments complex on May 8, 2012.

Schmidt, 56, was arraigned on charges of ethnic intimidation, a felony punishable by up to two years in prison; and malicious destruction of property, a misdemeanor punishable by up to 93 days in jail, said Ottawa County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney John Scheuerle.

Grand Haven Public Safety Director Jeff Hawke said at the time that the arrest sent a clear message regarding the crime of ethnic intimidation and similar behavior.

“We appreciate the cooperation extended from the management of Williamsburg Court Apartments and the diligence of the Ottawa County Prosecutor’s Office in quickly reviewing this case,” Hawke said previously.

On May 8, an African-American maintenance worker was painting a vacant unit at the apartment complex, and then left the apartment for a brief time to retrieve supplies. When he returned, he found a racial slur — “We don’t want n-----s working here” — written in red marker on the wall that he was painting.

Read about the trial in Friday's Tribune.

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