Friday, April 27, 2012

Ohio Man Cops Guilty Plea For Role In Cross Burning Conspiracy

From the U.S. Department of Justice:

  • Brandon Rhodes, 20, of Marengo, Ohio, pleaded guilty yesterday to a charge related to the burning of a cross in the yard of an African-American juvenile in March 2011, the Justice Department announced [Friday, March 2, 2012].
  • Rhodes pleaded guilty to conspiracy to interfere with the housing rights of another in federal court in Columbus, Ohio, before U.S. District Judge Gregory L. Frost.
  • Information presented during the plea hearing established that a cross burning occurred on March 2, 2011, at a residence in Bennington Township, Ohio, that was home to an African-American family with three high school children.(1)

For the Justice Department press release, see Ohio Man Pleads Guilty for Cross Burning.

Go here for links to other cross burning incidents from the U.S. Justice Department.

(1) According to the press release, the investigation revealed that Rhodes and his co-conspirator agreed to burn a cross in the backyard of the home of one of the children who resided there. After the six-foot wooden cross was constructed, Rhodes and his co-conspirator transported the cross to the back yard of the African-American family. Rhodes and his co-conspirator wrote “KKK will make you pay” and another racial derogatory term on the cross. Rhodes and his co-conspirator poured gasoline on the cross and, using a cigarette lighter, ignited the cross around midnight.

A burning cross is a symbol of bigotry and hate and, in this case, it was used to threaten a family. These incidents have no place in our country, and they are a reminder of the civil rights challenges we still face today,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “We will continue to aggressively prosecute hate crimes of this kind.”

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