A growing problem, fake hate crimes are quick to be downplayed by the media, but these episodes reached a pinnacle with disgraced actor Jussie Smollet, whose name has become a verb to describe such incidents.
Smollet has plenty of company, as seen in Johnson City, Tenn., where a black woman was arrested for scraping the words “white pride” into the sidewalk in front of a local gym owned by a black man.
Mahagany Teague, 41, was arrested last week for vandalizing DC Fitness, and was being held on a $1,000 bond at the Washington County Detention Center, according to WCYB.
For some reason, the subsequent story did not feature Teague’s mugshot seen above.
NEW TONIGHT: Just one day after a Johnson City business owner told News 5 someone carved "white pride" in front of his business, Johnson City police say they've made an arrest.https://t.co/gpG8DAYxC7
— News 5 WCYB (@news5wcyb) March 4, 2020
DC Fitness owner Derrick Carson told WJHL News Channel 11 that he had security footage of Teague committing the vandalism.
Prior to Teague being arrested, he told NBC affiliate WCYB, “It hit me in the heart more than anything.”
“I started to lose some of the anger and some of the hurt, and then it kind of went out the person like ‘what would have them out this early in the morning in the cold,’ to where they were disheveled enough to want to scribble in front of my door,” he added.
AT 10 & 11: DC Fitness Owner Derrick Carson says he’s one of the few black business owners in the area. He found the phrase “white pride” etched on the front pavement by his gym. Tonight, he’s speaking with me about how this act is not going to bring him down. pic.twitter.com/w18h1WY1av
— Angelique Arintok WCYB (@angelique_wcyb) March 2, 2020
Turns out, there was an outpouring of support for Carson from the local community, as seen in the initial report from WCYB.
“I think the support from everybody made him feel like, ‘They’ve got my back, there is no reason to let this get me down,'” said Kandra Scott, a manager at DC Fitness.
Carson’s daughter started a GoFundMe page with a goal of $1,500 to purchase “good quality concrete paint, painting supplies, and a couple [of] new cameras.”
“Since this type of thing happens more than it should, first off, awareness should be spread,” the page said. “If you were raised to be small minded with no growing room, that’s fine. There is absolutely no reason, however, to spread your hateful heart to those who have never personally wronged you.”
As of this writing, $1,273 has been collected.
But then Teague got busted after she “pulled a Jussie Smollett,” as Law Enforcement Today noted in a tweet.
She pulled a Jussie Smollett. She just didn't have the connections he did to get away with it.https://t.co/JjXtTHoqgg
— LawEnforcementToday (@LawEnforceToday) March 8, 2020
As for Smollett, his efforts to evade justice have failed, it would appear.
Last month, a grand jury returned a six-count indictment charging the actor with making four separate false reports to the Chicago Police Department related to the fake hate crime he allegedly perpetrated.
On Friday, the Illinois Supreme Court rejected a request from Smollet’s attorneys to throw out the indictment.
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