A recent incident that involved racist graffiti scrawled on a man’s car near Kansas State University was a hoax, police said Monday, that called attention to rising racial tensions at the school.
A parked black vehicle in an apartment complex near the university in Manhattan, Kansas was painted with racial slurs including the N-word and “Die,” the Riley County Police Department said after having discovered the car Wednesday. Photos of the car spread on social media and caused a major uproar on the university’s campus.
The vehicle’s owner, Dauntarius Williams, 21, who is Black and lives in the community, confessed to having defaced his own car in a Halloween prank amid the uproar, authorities explained in a news release Monday.
“I just want to apologize from the bottom of my heart for the pain and news I have brought you all,” Williams said in a statement.
Police have declined to file charges against Williams though he filed a false incident report in a rare move, especially given that many Black men are painted as criminals for any perceived wrongdoing. Williams is a “young man who made a mistake” and has “[owned] up to it,” Brad Schoen, Riley County Department Police Director, explained.
The case “created difficulties” in the community, police said.
The university’s Black Student Union called an emergency meeting before Williams’ admission. More campus patrols were added, and concerned parents held a Facebook Live event. The FBI opened a civil rights investigation into a possible hate crime, the New York Post reported.
“We want to acknowledge that people felt anger and pain as a result of pictures and words that they saw,” said Jeff Morris, a Kansas State University spokesman to the Post Monday.
The incident followed previous racially charged events that had already put the campus on edge. An anti-gay slur was found outside the university student union in October. White supremacist fliers were found on campus in September, and a noose was discovered hanging from a campus tree in May.
No arrests have been made in any of the previous incidents that put race front and center, they said. Officials will continue with campus patrols and assess concerns for more cameras, they said. More work to combat racist incidents, however, is needed.
SOURCE: New York Post