The 27-year-old exited his vehicle and approached D.H. with his knife and began to threaten him, using racially charged language and epithets.
A Kansas man will be serving time for violating a juvenile’s civil rights. A federal court determined the man threatened a Black male with a blade, using his race as the basis for intimidation and interfering with his right to fair housing.
On Wednesday, June 29, Colton Donner was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison and 18 months of supervised release by District Judge Daniel D. Crabtree, for what Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke called issuing “racially-motivated threats and violence,” according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Because the victim is a minor, his exact age and name are redacted from the court records, and he has been referred to as a “juvenile.” The November 2020 grand jury indictment of Donner described the victim only as “D.H., an African American male juvenile whose identity is known to the Grand Jury.”
According to his case file, Donner will serve his time at the federal prison in Florence, Colorado, “to facilitate family connections as the defendant believes that this facility will be closest to family based on the expected security classification.”
The Department of Justice quoted court documents and detailed how Donner drove through Paola, a residential area about 44 miles southwest of Kansas City, on Sept. 11, 2019, and singled the victim out as he walked on the sidewalk.
The 27-year-old exited his vehicle and approached D.H. with his knife and began to threaten him, using racially charged language and epithets,
Donner told D.H. Paola, a city with a population of about 6,000, was a “white town.”
He further intimated that D.H. should not be in the area because he was of color.
An investigation into the altercation by the Paola Police Department and the Kansas City Field Office of the FBI determined that Donner was guilty of violating D.H.’s right to fair housing and used race as a motivating factor for his intimidation.
In November 2020, a grand jury indicted Donner on one count of interference with fair housing. On Friday, Feb. 10, he pled guilty to the violation of the charge which violates the Civil Rights Act of 1968.
As part of his plea agreement, his second charge of possessing a firearm as a convicted felon was dropped, the Lawrence KS Times reports.
Donner was not allowed to have a gun after being convicted for vehicular eluding in 2017 by the District Court of Chaffee County, Colorado. Another aspect of the plea agreement required the man to render the weapon to authorities.
Clarke said, “Racially-motivated threats and violence have no place in our society today.”
“This sentence should send a strong message to perpetrators of violent hate-fueled acts that they will be held accountable for their crimes,” Clarke continued. “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.”
Charles Dayoub, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Kansas City field office, said, “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.”
“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 special agent affirmed.
“All Americans have the freedom to decide where they want to live, and to do so without fear of being threatened because of their race,” U.S. Attorney Duston Slinkard for the District of Kansas also commented on the sentencing.
“Hopefully this prison sentence will deter those who would commit acts of racial discrimination and violence by illustrating the Justice Department’s steadfast resolve to prosecute these crimes.”