News June 17, 2022 at 10:40 am

Black teen says he was racially profiled and attacked in the city Trayvon Martin was killed

Francis Akhalbey | Content Manager

Francis Akhalbey June 17, 2022 at 10:40 am

June 17, 2022 at 10:40 am | News

Donald Corsi (left) and Howard Oral Hughes allegedly attacked a 16-year-old Black boy -- Photo: Seminole County Sheriff

A Black teen has accused some White residents of a Sanford, Florida, neighborhood of racially profiling and attacking him during what appeared to be a hostile confrontation on June 14. Sanford is the same city Trayvon Martin was killed.

According to WESH, the incident happened while 16-year-old Jermaine Jones was driving through a Lake Forest neighborhood with a friend. The teen, who shared a video of the confrontation on Instagram, said the White people seen in the recording took issue with the way he was driving and threw a rock at his car. 

“I was racially profiled while driving through my friends neighborhood,” Jones posted. “They didn’t like the way I was driving, so they felt the need to hit my car with a cone, and throw a rock through my window. All I wanted to do was de-escalate until police came, because I wasn’t about to get charges pressed on me for no reason.”

Two White suspects, Donald Corsi, 52, and 61-year-old Howard Hughes were arrested and criminally charged in connection with the incident. 

In the video that was taken after Jones’ car was damaged, Corsi and Hughes are seen confronting the teen and getting in his face. Corsi is also heard saying the teen was “burning out and racing through my f***** neighborhood.”

Hughes is also seen getting close to Jones and telling him, “I told you not to.” And when Jones tells him to get out of his face, Hughes replies saying, “I’m not in your face. Get out of my neighborhood f***wad.”

Another woman seen with her phone up is also heard yelling at Jones. “Get out of this neighborhood. Get out of this neighborhood. You don’t belong here,” she is heard saying. The same woman initially told Jones he is “the one who would have a gun” when the teen asked about someone having a gun.

In an interview with WESH, Jones said the confrontation unfolded while he and his 16-year-old friend were on their way to another friend’s home for a sleepover. The teen said the men confronted them for speeding. The teens alleged the men damaged the car with a cone and rock. The arrest affidavit also stated that Hughes struck the stomach of one of the teens with a cone.

“My friend got assaulted by the man that had the cone. He struck him with the cone. And after that, I was going to speak to the man and tell him that was wrong and ask him why he did it,” Jones said. “And my friend goes, ‘Jermaine, watch out, he has a gun!’ That’s when I picked up my phone and started recording because I was fearing for my life.”

And though Jones acknowledged he was speeding, his parents said it did not warrant such a reaction from the men. “I was terrified and thanking God that nothing happened to my son,” the teen’s mom, Niko Jones, said. “There’s no doubt in my mind that had he been white, this would not have happened to him. It had to be his skin color.”

Jones’ parents also said the confrontation brought back memories of Martin’s killing. “They could have simply called the police,” Niko Jones said. “They could have done anything, but the audacity of them to think they could do what they wanted to do because it’s their neighborhood, that’s what they said, ‘get out of our neighborhood.’”

Jones’ parents have since sought the services of an attorney, and they want the two suspects to face harsher punishment. 

Per Seminole County court records, Corsi faces a weapons offenses charge for allegedly throwing the rock into the vehicle, Heavy reported. Hughes, on the other hand, faces a first-degree misdemeanor battery (touch or strike) charge. Both men have also been additionally charged with criminal mischief for causing over $1,000 in damages to property.

If found guilty, Corsi could spend up to 15 years behind bars while Hughes faces up to 5 years n prison. The two men posted bail after their arrests. 

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