At Kansas State University, members of the Black Student Union want local police to file charges against a black man who has admitted to police that he wrote racist graffiti on his own car. On Monday, Riley County Police announced that Dauntarius Williams (21) of Manhattan, Kansas, will not be charged for filing a false report about the scrawlings. He has admitted his responsibility for the graffiti. 

According to police, Williams has “expressed sincere regret” about his actions and the media maelstrom it stirred. Filing charges, said police, “would not be in the best interests of the citizens who comprise the Manhattan community.” Williams himself stirred the pot by contacting the media after painting the slurs on his vehicle. He claimed to have withdrawn from Kansas State University and to be a victim of a hate crime. KSU, however, had no record of his attendance, according to the Kansas City Star reported. Williams said on Monday that his was a “Halloween prank that got out of hand.”

Reports of the racist graffiti on November 1 made for an uproar on the KSU campus. “Go Home Nigger Boy,” “Fuck You Die Dumb Nigger,” “Date Your Own Kind” were among the hateful messages scrawled on Williams’ car. Black students on campus said they were tired of being subjected to racism on and off-campus. Black student groups and their supporters demanded action.

However, following an investigation by local police and the FBI that the culprit is actually black, the black student group remains unsatisfied. In a November 6 press release, the group stated, “The K-State Black Student Union is disheartened that no charges were filed by the Riley County Police Department.” The statement said, “The fact that an African-American man committed this act should not undermine its effect on K-State students. The conduct of Williams does not negate the current racist and discriminatory actions that continue on campus, community, the state and nation.”

“No matter who wrote the despicable and hateful speech, we, the K-State Black Student Union, will never stand for hate or threatening speech. We urge the Riley County Police Department to strongly reconsider pressing charges,” the statement read. 

On Monday, the chagrined Williams said in a statement, “I would like to deeply apologize to the community.” He said, “The whole situation got out of hand when it shouldn’t have even started. It was just a Halloween prank that got out of hand. I wish I could go back to that night but I can’t. I just want to apologize from the bottom of my heart for the pain and news I have brought you all.”

On November 2, KSU President Richard Myers issued a statement on the initial incident calling it “a direct attack on the values of our community.” From the statement:

“Yesterday a disturbing incident affected our Manhattan campus and caused significant pain to our students, faculty and staff. The racist messages found on a car parked off-campus are a direct attack on the values of our community.
“Those who wish us harm should not be allowed to create a culture of fear and divisiveness. As I hear from student leadership following this incident, your message is clear: We need to ensure the safety of those affected by this attack.

“The K-State Police Department will immediately increase its patrols and visible presence on the Manhattan campus. Those who need support should use the many resources we make available through student life and our counseling center. Please avail yourselves of assistance if needed, including our LiveSafe app and Wildcat Walk services. If we need to make additional resources available, we will.

“We call on the Riley County Police Department to use all available resources in its criminal investigation, including any necessary state and federal resources. There has already been widespread misinformation about this incident; we need to make decisions based on factual information, not rumors, unsubstantiated social media posts or stories. Let’s get it right.”

Manhattan KS Mayor Linda Morse released a statement about the incident: 

“In regard to the reported incident yesterday where disgusting racial slurs were painted on a vehicle, I just want to state that the behavior reflected in that incident is not the type of action or behavior condoned in Manhattan. This act does not reflect what I believe Manhattan is. Divisive, hateful acts such as this draw out strong emotions from many people. As mayor, I condemn these disgusting acts and stand ready and willing to meet and discuss these types of issues with the community, university, RCPD, and all those impacted by these events. I encourage the Manhattan community to reach out and support diversity and respect for all. I know that there is need for significant improvement and I know the community will come together to help make Manhattan a safe, inclusive and respectful place for all.”
 

 



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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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