In March of 2016, Idaho’s Attorney General’s Office charged a white high school football player, John R. K. Howard of Dietrich, for abusing a black high school football player with a disability by kicking a coat hanger into his rectum. The charge was dropped from “felony injury to a child” with major punishment to three years of probation with the possibility of no record after probation. The AG stated it was “not a sex crime” and that it “was not a racially motivated crime.”
Every article that I have read mentions history of racial slurs and use of the hanger. To deny that this crime involved race, to deny that the intent was forced and unwanted sexual domination, is to abuse the power of authority. We must ask ourselves as Idahoans, is this acceptable?
As a community, we should seek accountability from Idaho’s attorney general through a public statement expressing commitment from their office to learn about implicit bias on gender, race and ability. As a community, we should seek accountability from the Dietrich School District to undo a culture of hate, violence and racism.
Naomi Johnson, Boise