/ Letters / ‘This is clearly a hate crime’

‘This is clearly a hate crime’

May 22, 2020

To the Editor:

I am calling out Brian Jopek and The Lakeland Times for biased reporting for their May 12 story, “St. Germain man arrested for being armed while intoxicated.” This story was about a racist attack on our Native neighbors practicing their tradition and exercising their rights to harvest fish in ceded territories. Tribal members were shot at in their boat from the shore by an intoxicated man, James Kelsey of St. Germain. The headline should have read “Spear fishermen attacked on St. Germain Lake.” This was clearly a hate crime. James Kelsey said during his arrest that he didn’t want to go to the hospital and get COVID, “especially if the Indians are there.”

The article buries the lead. It is not until halfway through that the fact he was shooting at tribal members is explained. That is the crime! That should have been the headline, loud and clear. This was a racially motivated shooting. The minimalization of this motivation leans uncomfortably towards whitewashing of this act. This under-reporting of a racist act should be called out.

I’ll be waiting to see the reporting on the case referral to the sheriffs office, and further actions, if there are any.

Maggie Jungwirth




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