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 firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.