BOWLING GREEN — Two local teens have been charged with criminal mischief and ethnic intimidation for drawing a swastika and writing “white power” on the driveway outside the home of Louis Orr, men’s basketball coach at Bowling Green State University.
Two other boys have been charged with criminal mischief for chalking incidents at other properties the same night the coach’s house was hit, said Tim Atkins, chief assistant Wood County prosecutor in the juvenile division.
“These four young men decided to go ‘chalking’ where you take chalk and write inappropriate words on a person’s driveway and sidewalk,” he said, adding that only two of the teens are believed to have participated in the graffiti at Mr. Orr’s home in the Stone Ridge Golf Club neighborhood the night of Oct. 13.
Mr. Orr, who is black, contacted police Oct. 14 after his wife saw the markings.
Mr. Atkins said he does not believe the Bowling Green High School students were targeting the coach. He said they go to school with Mr. Orr’s nephew, Jackson, a sophomore who lives with the Orrs.
“It was racially insensitive, but it wasn’t done with malice to be racial,” Mr. Atkins said. “It was just stupid words chosen that, in this case, really crossed the line.”
One of the suspects, who is 17, is expected to admit to the delinquency charges and be sentenced Jan. 22 in Wood County Juvenile Court.
The other suspect in the case involving the Orrs’ home is scheduled for arraignment Wednesday. He is 16.
The other two boys, who are 15 and 17, also are to be arraigned in juvenile court Wednesday.
Mr. Atkins said at the coach’s request, he is attempting to arrange a meeting with the boys who were involved.
“He wants to meet with these two young men to express how it affected him and his family, how it is for an African-American, even in this day and age, to come out of his house and see that language and symbolism on his property,” Mr. Atkins said.
He added that the four teens are not suspected in an unrelated incident reported the next day in which a black man found a watermelon smashed on his car in the 200 block of East Merry Avenue, as well as a note with a racial epithet. No one has been charged in that case.