COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — An Alsip man who pleaded guilty to putting a noose around a black teen’s neck was ordered by a judge to write an essay about the history of blacks being lynched in America.
Matthew Herrmann, 19, was originally charged with felonies — including hate crime — for the racially charged attack.
He and two other white teens were accused of luring the victim — a student at Brother Rice High School — to one of their Beverly homes in the 1600 block of West 100th Place on Dec. 23, 2011.
When the victim, 17-year-old Joshua Merritt, got there, he was restrained, called the N-word and threatened with death, authorities said.
The three teens also put a noose around his neck. The teens were angry about Merritt’s relationship with one of their female cousins, police said.
The two other teens were charged as juveniles.
Herrmann pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor — and was sentenced to two years probation. But the judge didn’t leave it at that.
He also ordered the teen to pen an essay on “the history and practice of lynching African-Americans in this country,” according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. Outside court, Herrmann said that while he and the victim are no longer friends, the two were able to make amends through a program called a “peace circle” commonly used in juvenile court to help settle disputes without jail time.
He should have been put in jail. This isn’t high school, why are you making his ass write an essay for punishment??