KS man pleads guilty to hate crime after threatening Black minor with knife

Colton Donner faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for the hate crime.

A Kansas man has pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime after threatening a Black minor with a knife for being in a “white town.”

The Department of Justice announced on Thursday that Colton Donner, 27, pleaded guilty in federal court to threatening the boy and interfering with his right to fair housing.

According to court documents associated with the plea deal, Donner spotted the victim while he was driving through Paola, Kansas on Sept. 11, 2019. The victim had been living in Paola which is almost 90% white and 4% African American, according to population data.

Colton Donner thegrio.com
Colton Donner (Credit: Chase County Sheriff’s Office)

Donner proceeded to get out of his car, confront the young man with a knife, and utter racial slurs. Conner told the young man that Paola is a “white town.”

Dolton was indicted on hate crime and illegal weapon charges by a federal jury in Kansas City in Nov. 2020, Fox 4 reported. He also faced an additional charge of unlawfully possessing a firearm while being a convicted felon.

“Using racially motivated threats of violence to drive someone out of their home or community is a deplorable crime, and the Justice Department stands ready to use our nation’s hate crimes laws to hold perpetrators accountable,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke in a statement.

“Racially motivated hate crimes have no place in our society today. All people deserve to feel safe and secure living in their communities, regardless of race, color or national origin,” she continued.

Judge Wooden gavel on the table of judge with american flag and black chair
(Photo: Adobe Stock)

U.S. Attorney Duston Slinkard shared similar sentiments.

“Any attempt to deny someone an opportunity to live where he or she chooses based on race, color or national origin is wrong and a violation of that person’s civil rights,” Slinkard said. “It is the responsibility of the Justice Department to prosecute such offenses to ensure the equal protection under the law to which we all are entitled, and we take that responsibility very seriously.”

The case against Donner was investigated by the Paola Police Department and the Kansas City Field Office of the FBI. He faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the civil rights violation.

“Every individual has the right to occupy a home free from racial discrimination, yet the defendant targeted the victim for no other reason than the victim’s race,” said Special Agent in Charge Charles Dayoub of the FBI Kansas City Field Office.

“The defendant’s actions directly undermined the victim’s right to reside in a community in Paola, Kansas, and to enjoy the protections afforded under the federal civil rights act. The FBI, along with our law enforcement partners, have no tolerance for this type of fear and intimidation and are committed to protecting residents regardless of their race, color, religion, gender, national origin or familial status,” he said.

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