MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (AP) — A white neighbor who shot at a Black family’s Michigan home, slashed tires on a vehicle and wrote racist graffiti on a pickup truck, told a judge Monday that he did it because of a Black Lives Matter sign in the window.
Michael Frederick Jr. said during his sentencing in Macomb County Circuit Court that his actions weren’t an attack on Eddie and Candace Hall “personally.”
“I targeted these people because I didn’t like their political sign that they had in the window,” he said. “I think you guys are some great people and didn’t deserve this at all.”
Frederick, 25, was sentenced to four to 10 years in prison, according to The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens.
Shots were fired in September at the Halls’ home in Warren, which borders Detroit. Two days later, a swastika was painted on one of their vehicles, tires were slashed and a large stone was thrown through their front window. Someone also had written “terrorist Black Lives Matter,” “not welcome” and a phrase containing an expletive on their pickup.
The following day, a bullet was fired through the Halls’ front window.
Frederick soon was arrested. He pleaded no contest in July to ethnic intimidation, discharging a firearm at a building, using a firearm during a felony and malicious destruction of property, the newspaper reported.
The attacks came at a time of mounting anxiety and anger among many Black residents amid protests against police brutality.
“I’m not angry, I’m not. I’m forgiving,” Candace Hall, 55, said at Frederick’s sentencing. “You’re a good kid and have a chance. You made a bad choice, and we understand that. We have children ourselves. We’re not hateful people, we’re Christians.”
“With so much of the bad that happened, so much good came out of this because even though it was an evil, hateful act, it actually brought us — the neighborhood — together with love and comfort and compassion, even including his parents,” she added.
Judge Diane Druzinski told the Halls that she was “in awe” of their “strength, wisdom and forgiveness.”
“I wish I was as good as people as you,” Druzinski said.
Frederick also pleaded no contest to malicious destruction of property after vandalizing the home of a white homeowner where a sign for then-presidential candidate Joe Biden was displayed.
A no contest plea is not an admission of guilt but is used as such at sentencing.