OUR VIEWS: Charges don’t fit the crimes

Jun 5, 2012


Why prosecutors would see fit to charge a 55-year-old Grand Haven man with ethnic intimidation for scrawling the n-word on an apartment wall makes some sense.

But it makes no sense why county prosecutors wouldn’t place the same charge on two teens for throwing eggs at a Spring Lake restaurant and continually harassing the Chinese owner for months. Instead, they face minor vandalism-related charges.

When you look at the cases, it’s easy to see that the Chinese restaurant event was certainly the most concerning of the two. It involved months of ethnic slurs and intimidation.

The Grand Haven case appears to be a guy who walked into an empty apartment, pulled out a marker and wrote a message on a wall. This seemingly isolated case does not appear to be premeditated, or a coordinated effort to harass or intimidate a maintenance worker.

Is writing the n-word on a wall more serious than calling the Chinese restaurant manager a “Chinese f---“?

Should the older man know better? Sure. But should he be charged with a felony? Not so sure.

Should the teenagers know better? Yes. But should they be charged with simple misdemeanors for their actions or the felony charge faced by the older man? The felony charge, without a doubt.

Why, you may ask? These were not just kids being kids. One of the boys was already on probation for a separate incident, of which we don’t know the details. The other told police it was “no big deal” what they did to Chan. Yet their harassment of him was a big-enough deal that they continued it for months.

The guy who stumbled into an apartment likely regrets his hasty and ill-thought-out action. We can only hope he sees the error of his ways. But should he face a felony when the boys don’t? Should the boys get a break? Absolutely not.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Kevin Collier and Liz Stuck. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.



Amen....couldnt have said it better myself......both incidents should be handle with the same charges!

no one shall kn...

A fifty year old man... and two teenagers.

Do you see where there should be a difference in maturity levels here?



The teens harassment lasted over a period of time with actions that were premeditated and blatantly hurtful, the 50 year old had one misfortunate incident...these teens need to be punished so they learn that they can't continue this behavior for the rest of their lives...All of these individuals need counseling and community service, perhaps in a setting where they are the minority...


Neither one is a felony and the ethnic itimidation charge against the 55 year old should be dropped. As stupid as the man's words where scribbled on the wall, his words should be protected under freedom of speech. He did not threaten anyone nor even have contact with this contractor. If the wall he used to write his words was not his then, hit him with a defacing property misdemeanor and make him clean it up and pay for replacing the drywall. There should be no charges brought against the Spring Lake kids throwing eggs at a building. Its EGGS! A few in this community want to make it so much more than it is. Most are liberals screaming ethinic intimadation and the need for diversity indocrination of thesde individuals. This is the same crowd that preaches coexisting and tolerance of others, but is ironically showing neither agianst these kids and this 55 year old idiot. The Black Panthers can intimidate voters at polling places repeatedly which, violates specific voter intimidations laws in this country and put a bounty on another citizen's head in wanting this particular American caught "dead or alive" and not one word of ethnic indimatation, hate crime, or felony is charged by local, state, or federal officials. Perhaps, if the Black Panthers we caught with a magic marker or a carton of eggs in their possession then, the police & local citizenry could really nail em'.


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