Two white guys were arrested after they were accused of harassing a Black teenager and causing damage to his car while he was driving through a Sanford, Florida area. The claimed event occurred shortly before 6 p.m. on Tuesday in Seminole County’s Lake Forest neighbourhood. Jermaine Jones, the teen, captured some of it on cellphone video, which his father later shared on Facebook.
Donald Corsi, 52, and Howard Hughes, 61, are seen screaming at Jermaine in the video, according to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. Jermaine, 16, was accused of “burning out, racing” around the area by one of the males. Jermaine motions for the men to take a step back from him. “I’m not yelling at you. Please leave my area “According to one man.
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According to NBC station WESH of Orlando, Corsi and Hughes, who were detained Tuesday, have subsequently secured bond and been freed from custody. Niko Jones, Jermaine’s mother, said her son might be alive because he sought to deescalate the situation in an NBC News interview on Friday.
“How could they respond like this?” she wondered. “In a crisis, they were meant to be the adults. My son turned out to be the grownup in this circumstance.” The footage shows Jermaine’s Mercedes-Benz C230 sedan’s back window shattered, with glass strewn across the backseat and the ground. In the centre of the seat, there is a massive rock. Large damage to the door can be seen beneath the broken window.
Jermaine was travelling with a 15-year-old companion when Hughes and Corsi “aggressively approached” their vehicle, “assaulted” them, and made “verbal threats,” according to the arrest report. According to the report, one of the males hit the car with a large orange traffic cone, causing a dent in the door. While the teens were in the car, the second man “throw[ed] a large stone with sharp edges into the back seat,” according to the complaint. The 15-year-old also admitted to being struck by the cone.
Jermaine claimed on Friday that he soon assumed the altercation was over him being a Black adolescent in a town where the men didn’t believe he belonged. He stated that he had been advised, “Leave this area as soon as possible. You don’t belong there,” he interpreted as meaning “because of the colour of my skin — because I didn’t threaten them.” “I wasn’t endangering them,” he explained, “and I’ve never gotten into problems before.”
Columbus “CJ” Jones, Jermaine’s father, claimed on Facebook that his son and the other youngster were in the neighbourhood visiting a friend. As the situation became tenser, his son attempted to flee, but the men “shut him off” and smashed the car with a cone, according to Jones.
“I wonder where those men got those cones and stones?… What if they could dash into their house and grab armed instead of using the cone and stone?” he wondered. “I’m relieved that no one was wounded. This will undoubtedly make an indelible mark on my son’s attitude in the future.”
Kevin Edwards, the Jones family’s lawyer, said a civil claim against the suspects would most certainly be launched on their behalf in the following weeks. According to him, the suit’s goal is to hold the two accountable. Hughes and Corsi were both charged with criminal mischief and property damage. According to Seminole County Sheriff’s Office arrest papers, Hughes faces an extra charge of the battery, while Corsi faces a weapons offence.
It’s unclear if they’ve hired lawyers, and the phone numbers given for them were disconnected. Niko Jones expressed her want for the men to be held responsible. “They were acting as though they were vigilantes,” she explained. “They felt entitled to it because they thought they could get away with it,” says the author.
Jermaine would not specify whether he spun the sedan’s tyres or drove in a manner that may have alarmed residents, only that “they sort of took it into their own hands” in any case. Lake Forest is a gated enclave just minutes from downtown Sanford, the same location where George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, a Black teenager, in 2012.
Zimmerman, a volunteer for the neighbourhood watch, was charged with murder but acquitted by a jury. Jermaine’s mother claimed the murder has been weighing hard on her mind in recent days. “Ahmad Arbery and Trayvon Martin were the first people who came to mind,” Jones remarked. “These things happen all the time, as we’ve heard. And, you know, I’m just pleased he kept his cool and the issue didn’t turn into something more serious.”
Arbery was hunted and fatally shot while jogging through Satilla Shores, a coastal Georgia neighbourhood, in early 2020. In January, the three men convicted of his murder were sentenced to life in prison. Black families, according to Jones, try to prepare their children to avoid violent discrimination. “We have to have these talks as Black mothers,” she stated. “We’re terrified.”
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