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.