Felony hate crime charges may be waged against an 18-year-old man and two younger boys who have admitted to burning a cross outside of a predominately African American church in Sapulpa, Oklahoma.
While authorities are recommending these legal penalties against the three white men, the Creek County District Attorney will have the final say. Currently, no formal charges have been filed an the three young men are currently free. Reuters has more:
"They were bored and it was something to do. That's what the adult said," [Lt. Charles Redfern of the Creek County Sheriff's Department] said of the suspects. "They did say they wish they hadn't done it."
The two juveniles were interviewed in the presence of their parents, he said. Their ages were not disclosed.
The cross, propped against a chain link fence outside St. Johns Baptist Church before it was set ablaze, was actually half of a wooden waterbed frame, Redfern said.
We are considering it a hate crime," [Redfern] said. "Because the intent was there to build the cross, wrap it in what they wrapped it in, took it across the street to a church, set it up and set it on fire."
He said the cross was wrapped in cloth and plastic, and then ignited.
"It's unacceptable in this day and time."
St. John's Baptist Church members claim that they will not hold a grudge against the young men for their actions, though they certainly disagree with what was done. While these actions were certainly serious, there are some who may find the charges harsh in nature.
What do you think? Should these teens be charged with a felony hate crime for their actions?