Colton Donner, 27, was sentenced Wednesday to two years and three months in federal prison for threatening a Black man with a knife because he was walking while Black, per an announcement from the Department of Justice. Donner was also accused of trying to intimidate and interfere with the man’s right to fair housing.
Court documents say three years ago, Donner was driving through the residential area of Paola when he saw a Black man walking on the sidewalk. He stopped his car, got out and approached the man while brandishing a knife. Donner yelled at the man calling him racial slurs, threatened him and told him Paola was a “white town.” It’s unclear whether the man was homeless or not.
The Paola Police Department and Kansas City Field Office of the FBI launched the investigation into the incident.
“Racially-motivated threats and violence have no place in our society today,” said Assistant Attorney General Clarke. Well, they’ve surely found a place.
More on the case from the Department of Justice:
“Every individual has the right to occupy a home free from racial discrimination, yet the defendant targeted the victim for no other reason than the victim’s race,” said Special Agent in Charge Dayoub. “The defendant’s actions, directly undermined the victim’s right to reside in a community in Paola, and to enjoy the protections afforded under the federal civil rights act. The FBI, along with our law enforcement partners, have no tolerance for this type of fear and intimidation and are committed to protecting residents regardless of their race, color, religion, gender, national origin or familial status.”
US Attorney Duston Slinkard for the District of Kansas said he hopes the sentencing will deter others from committing acts of racial violence. However, this incident may not be the warning they think it will be.
Not too long ago Black people were taking to social media to warn drivers about sundown towns in the south that still target Black folks coming through. California just announced a new record high of reported hate crimes. Every week we see incidents of Black people being followed or harassed for simply existing in a majority white space. This time, the perpetrator happened to get punished but this isn’t often the case.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe and secure living in their communities, without being subject to racially-motivated crimes seeking to drive them from their homes or neighborhoods,” said Clarke.