This is 21-year-old Kevin Shdeed as he learned that he will serve three months of a one-year jail sentence with the balance suspended. Shdeed was convicted for an attack on a black teenager, in which he and at least six others assaulted a black teenager with fists, feet, sticks, knives and beer bottles. (Witness reports state there were probably 10 to 12 individuals involved.) They continued to attack him even after he became unconscious.
The recent news reports on the sentencing are light on the details of the assault. This is from a 2010 article:
Berchtold was one of several people who yelled racial slurs at Robinson and punched him as he tried to flee, prosecutors said. Anderson and Rains then got involved, beating Robinson as he fell to the ground and got in a fetal position. The group proceeded to break a bottle over Robinson’s head, beat him with a stick, stomp on his face, and stab him four times until he lay still.
Witnesses told police that Anderson at one point yelled: “(Expletive), why’d you come to Marshfield! Who do you think you are?”
Shdeed got off easy, in my opinion. In fact, the longest sentence was only two to three years. The assistant district attorney had recommended an eight- to ten-year sentence for at least two of the individuals involved.
I commented to a white friend that although I thought the sentencing was entirely too lenient, having a picture of yourself crying posted on the internet for all eternity seemed like a tiny piece of justice. Said friend found me insensitive and remarked how the situation was sad for everybody involved. I responded that it was worse for the victim than for the assailant.
Indeed, very little has been written about Tizaya Robinson. The specifics of the attack are not listed in recent news stories, but police reports indicate that a pool of blood and a bloody stick (18 inches long, 3 inches thick) were found at the scene. A witness reported that one of the attackers was using a stick “like a harpoon.” One of the defendants additionally used racist slurs “at least 25 times” in speaking with police afterwards.
I have written numerous times about the cost of racism and about how white people develop impaired abilities to feel empathy. And about how repeated racism has an effect on me that colors my interactions. But am I lacking in empathy as well?
Yes, it is sad that Shdeed grew up in a racist society and felt it was okay to act on his racist thoughts. But where’s all the talk about personal responsibility? I don’t know what those three months will mean to him. But he chose his actions.
Tizaya Robinson was born black.
Edited to add: Comments wishing violence upon Shdeed will not be tolerated.
Additionally, at least two of the individuals charged in this attack have prior records. One was in violation of probation at the time of arrest.