A 22-year-old man who hit the downtown strip last month with a black marker pen and a bad attitude was sentenced Thursday to 12 days in jail.
Matthew D. Schneider pleaded guilty in Kingston’s Ontario Court of Justice to vandalizing multiple downtown parking meters and bus shelters with crude graffiti targeting what Kingston Police at the time of his arrest termed “women of certain ethnicities,” plus a concomitant violation of probation he received in Napanee in mid-January, which requires him to keep the peace.
The question that Justice Allan Letourneau was unable to get answered, however — and he did try with Schneider — was why.
Assistant Crown attorney Gerard Laarhuis told the judge that Schneider initially came to the attention of Kingston Police when a citizen approached a cruiser on patrol in the area of Princess and Montreal streets, shortly before noon on June 25.
The tipster reported seeing a young man wearing a purple Baltimore Ravens jersey with the name “Flacco” on it, defacing a nearby parking meter with what he considered a disturbing message.
The officers checked out Schneider’s handiwork and, according to Laarhuis, were still parked nearby about 10 minutes later when Schneider walked past their cruiser.
Laarhuis told the judge police confronted him, and he told the officers graffiti was a bylaw offence, not a criminal matter.
He was wrong. They arrested him and, upon searching him, Laarhuis said, they found a black marker pen.
The message he had been at such pains to disseminate, the judge was told, was his view that “K-town Black, Asian girls” are lesbians with unnaturally active libidos. His wording was more vulgar, however.
And, Laarhuis said, he’s believed to have written it on “upwards of 20 meters” and a number of bus shelters.
The Crown prosecutor found it disturbing that he’d singled out visible minorities and called his behaviour “disconcerting” and “an expression of hatred,” which is why, he told the judge, Schneider “has to go to jail.”
Laarhuis also observed, “no doubt it’s expensive to remove this graffiti.”
Defence lawyer Paul Blais suggested to the judge “this is a situation of, uh, idle hands,” and noted that his client will turn 23 later this year.
Letourneau asked: “Has he ever worked? Are there mental health issues?”
Schneider answered only the first question, telling the judge, “back in high school.”
Letourneau then asked him if he was high at the time, and Schneider responded that there were no substances involved. “It was just dumb.”
“So, it’s dumb times 20?” Letourneau prodded.
He asked Schneider if he thought what he was writing was funny, and Schneider answered: “No, I never thought it was funny,” then added, “I guess I was pissed off.”
It’s not his first antisocial display. Laarhuis disclosed that, most recently, the probation imposed on him in Napanee followed convictions for criminal harassment and performing an indecent act.
But the judge’s questioning failed to make him rise to the occasion and reveal the motive behind his message.
All he would say was: “I don’t have a hatred toward women or Asians or Blacks.”
Justice Letourneau agreed with the Crown that the behaviour and unanswered questions about what lies beneath was unsettling and warranted jail.
To impress on Schneider that what he did is serious in “K-Town,” the judge gave him what will show up on his criminal record as a 21-day sentence, composed of enhanced credit on six days spent in custody before he was granted bail — which counts as the equivalent of nine days — plus the 12 days of jail imposed on him in court.
Article source: http://www.thewhig.com/2015/07/20/crude-graffiti-earns-man-jail-time