Champaign teens charged with hate crime

Champaign teens charged with hate crime

URBANA — Three white male teens from Champaign have been charged with a hate crime offense for allegedly calling three people of color disparaging names and threatening them with suspected weapons early Thursday.

State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said according to a Champaign police report, two men and a woman, all Parkland College students who appeared to be of Arab descent, were walking on Sixth Street just north of Daniel Street about 12:30 a.m. when a car with four men drove up next to them.

One of the car occupants asked the trio if any of them wanted to buy cannabis. They declined and kept walking but the vehicle drove alongside them. Three of the four occupants began yelling racial slurs at them, she said.

“They asked them if they had bombs, called them ‘Osama-looking’ and ‘dirty Arabs,’” Rietz said.

The victims reported that the driver had what appeared to be a knife in his hand while the back-seat passenger had an expandable baton in his that the trio could see.

Rietz said the woman was afraid she and her roommates would be hurt and told the men she was going to call police. One of them replied that the police wouldn’t do anything because they were white and the victims were (racial epithet), Rietz said.

Police were notified and a University of Illinois officer stopped a car matching the description given by the trio near the intersection of Sixth and John streets.

A search turned up an expandable baton in the trunk and what appeared to be a knife in the seat back pocket. One of the teens said it was a letter opener. Police also found a cannabis grinder in the console.

Arrested were Cameron M. Sweeney, 19, of the 1300 block of West Hill Street; Roy Castro-Montague, 18, of the 2900 block of Valley Brook Drive; and Boston Terven, 18, of the 4700 block of Chestnut Grove.

Rietz said because the alleged threats to commit an assault happened within 1,000 feet of school property, namely the UI’s Swanlund Building, that made the offense a Class 3 felony.

If convicted, they face penalties ranging from probation to two to five years in prison.


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alabaster jones 71 wrote on August 21, 2014 at 2:08 pm
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Jackass behavior, to be sure.  A felony seems like overkill, though.

that1ladywhosaidthat1thing1... wrote on August 22, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Until you've personally experienced being the target of a hate crime, you'll not understand why the charges do indeed match the crime

alabaster jones 71 wrote on August 22, 2014 at 6:08 pm
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Oh, spare me.  If three teenagers waved a baton at me from a car and called me some names, I would ignore them.  I would not be a "victim" in any sense.

If they had waved a baton and yelled some names at three white people, would that be less offensive?

Bradley Park wrote on August 23, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Alabastar, lets hope God spares your daughter, niece or loved one this sort of experience once going off to college someday. I'M VERY SURE that if someone you loved was threatened with knives and batons your sentiments would be far different! Experiences like this aren't just shrugged off. They stay with the offended for life. You are a Clear example of how some people just don't get it! Instead of making a stand, people like you see this only as "jackass" behavior while these jackasses will likely grow into adult jackasses that take there next move a little further and grow from threat to assult. Ignorance must truly be bliss!

alabaster jones 71 wrote on August 23, 2014 at 10:08 pm
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I can see how it might stay with you for life, if you were feeble and easily frightened.

If that was the worst act of violence that my hypothetical daughter or niece would experience towards her in her life, she would be very lucky

If a few teenagers calling you names and waving a letter opener at you from a car scars you for the rest of your life, then you probably aren't going to have the fortitude to deal with much of any of the awful stuff that life will end up throwing at you.

SaintClarence27 wrote on August 26, 2014 at 8:08 am

You do realize that the "baton" was not a twirling baton, right?

And yes, that would be less offensive.

Voice of Reazon wrote on August 21, 2014 at 8:08 pm

I agree that these jackasses should be prosecuted for their behavior.

I despise all hate crime laws, though, since they remind me of the thought police in Orwell's 1984.  What difference does it make if I threaten people because they have red hair, or wear a head scarf, have a different skin tone than me, or have great-grandparents from Africa?   Either way I am being threatened; the specific motivations are totally irrelevant.

isaach_ wrote on August 24, 2014 at 10:08 am

Free Boston! Free Tony!

BruckJr wrote on August 24, 2014 at 8:08 pm

Kinda makes you wonder why the near-weekly attacks on white and asian students by blacks around town aren't charged as hate crimes.

coaxhdufus wrote on August 24, 2014 at 8:08 pm

and the Darwin award for chambana goes to....drum roll...

billbtri5 wrote on August 25, 2014 at 12:08 pm

how many classes of citizen are there in this country?   would a comment  against one be elevated  in the eyes of the law over a comment to another?..



SaintClarence27 wrote on August 27, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Short answer: Yes

Long answer: We have races in this country that are systematically subject to racism, economic pressure, poverty, and oppression that white people have never had to deal with. So yeah, it's worse. Much worse.

That doesn't mean that it should be a law, though.

littlefool wrote on August 28, 2014 at 5:08 pm

systematically subject to racism, economic pressure, poverty, and oppression that white people have never had to deal with.

Wow what a historically naive statement.

Unless you are classifying Irish, Polish, North African or other"minority" white immigrants as non-white. Along with abolitionists, returning veterans, peace activists, etc.

Which isn't out of the ordinary considering how many people consider descendants of the Iberian peninsula to be unquestionably indigenous peoples of the Americas.

SaintClarence27 wrote on August 29, 2014 at 8:08 am

No, it's not historically naive. Are you seriously comparing the two? Did the Irish just get the vote in the 60s?