Suspect charged only with disturbing the peace after racially insulting Black man before fatally stabbing him

Francis Akhalbey July 24, 2023
Sean W. Tonkin (left) has only been charged with disturbing the peace after he fatally stabbed Jon “Mike” Rone Jr. (right) -- Left photo credit: Jackson County Detention Center | Right photo via The Kansas City Star

The family and friends of a Black man, who was stabbed to death by a White man after the suspect hurled racial slurs at him, said they want the accused killer to face a harsher punishment after he was only charged with disturbing the peace.

According to The Kansas City Star, the fatal July 4 incident occurred outside a convenience store in Kansas City. The suspect, identified as 36-year-old Sean W. Tonkin, allegedly stabbed and killed Jon “Mike” Rone Jr. during an altercation.

Prior to the fatal stabbing, authorities said that the White man called Rone the N-word after he initially uttered the racial slur “in a hateful and racially-motivated tone” with strangers. But Tonkin was only charged with disturbing the peace after he was arrested in connection with the fatal incident. An additional low-level felony drug possession charge was also brought against him after less than a gram of meth was found in his possession.

In the wake of the incident, a spokesman for the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, Mike Mansur, said in a statement that Jackson County prosecutors are looking into other state charges as they “examine who started the incident, what weapons were used by the people involved and Missouri’s law on self-defense.”

“These factors will direct whether further State charges regarding Mr. Rone’s homicide can be filed,” Mansur stated. He also said the community “is rightfully angered by the disturbing racial comments of the defendant.”

“We vigorously and categorically condemn that language and its usage in any circumstance,” Mansur added. “We have filed the available Missouri charges that address those racist comments which were made to Jon Rone in a face-to-face manner.”

The deceased Black man’s family said Tonkin, who was being held on a $2,500 bond at the time of this report, started the altercation. They also claimed that witness statements showed the White man intended to harm a Black man on the day of the fatal incident, per The Kansas City Star. But Tonkin claimed self-defense after allegedly killing the Black man. 

Per Missouri statute, a person can legally use force in situations where that individual “reasonably believes” it is justified. This also includes certain situations where that individual is deemed to have initially been the aggressor. 

“He intentionally went looking for a problem,” Rone’s sister said, adding that one of the witnesses said Ronkin had asked her if she would be interested in seeing “a white boy f— up a n—–” before the fatal altercation.

“So how can (Tonkin) not be the aggressor?” she questioned. “I can barely sleep. I can barely eat. Today is the first time I’ve seen my step kids because I’ve been depressed. Not only trying to grieve my brother, but the fact that the person that killed him is getting away with it.”

“This is horrible,” she continued. “I just could never ever think that he will be targeted like that. You know, he has so many white friends. And we have a blended family. We see no color. So this hits home.”

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: July 24, 2023

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