CSRN Continues to Pursue the Truth; The Village of Swanton Makes It Difficult

Washington Muhammad, Anika Fields, Kawana Hunter

The Truth Staff

On Wednesday, July 5, Kawana Hunter’s two sons, aged 13 and 16, were due in court in the town of Wauseon to face felony 4 charges of assault. The boys, who are Black, were involved in an altercation with white boys on May 13 and only Hunter’s sons were charged by the Swanton police.

“We continue to pursue the truth,” said Washington Muhammad, of the Community Solidarity Response Network, during a press conference on Monday, July 3, arranged to bring to light the charges in Swanton. The recent arrest of this minor left us no other choice.”

According to Hunter, her younger son was at play in Swanton Memorial Park, when he encountered the white youths, one of whom was his age and attended school with him. That youth was accompanied by two older boys. The two older boys, said Hunter, encouraged the younger white boy to verbally Hunter’s son by calling him the N-word before physically attacking him causing numerous injuries.

After the attack, Hunter’s son found his older brother who then located the white boys and defended his brother physically.

Swanton police were called, said Hunter, and took statements only from the white children. As a result they went to the older brother’s school the next day and arrested him in front of his schoolmates and did not bother to inform a parent.

Later they brought the felony 4 assault charges against both of the Hunter boys.

“They told my children they should have walked away,” said Hunter.

During the Monday press conference, Hunter was accompanied by another African American Swanton resident, Anika Fields, who spoke of the long-time simmering racism within the community and particularly among the village police officers.

“I’m a resident and no stranger to the racism in Swanton,” said Fields. “There’s been no progress. There is still a lot of work to do, still a lot of African American families experiencing racism … a weaponizing of the police. We are asking for pressure to be applied … if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere.”

An early result of the arrest is that Hunter’s older son was unable to finish the school year.

“This is a hate crime,” said Fields last week. We spoke to Swanton city council but nothing has happened. This is not a plantation any more. Swanton has been successful in moving people out of the community with tactics like this.”

Hunter’s sons were in court for their July 5th appearance but the procedures were postponed until July 26.