Posted on March 13, 2012

Hate Crime Frightens Former Detroit Couple, Even After Tormentor’s Conviction

Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, March 12, 2012

Inside the mailbox outside their Detroit home, a noose was tucked in an envelope.

Along with the 4-inch twisted rope were photos of black men being lynched, a photo of the slain body of Nicole Brown Simpson and a message saying that’s what happens to white women who love black men.

The recipients were Carl Smith, 48, who is African American, and his wife, Susan Smith, 50, who is white.

The FBI got a lucky break. The sender’s DNA was found on the noose. He was eventually caught and prosecuted and was sentenced last month.


The government says hate crimes remain a pervasive problem in the U.S., targeting thousands of Americans every year.

Statistics show, however, that hate crimes have been steadily declining over the last decade. In 2010, more than 6,620 hate crimes were reported to the FBI, down a third from the roughly 9,700 reported in 2001. {snip}


For U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, hate crimes are especially troublesome because of who they target.

“Hate crimes are more egregious than regular crimes because they are intended to intimidate an entire class of people, not just an individual victim,” McQuade said.

She noted that federal hate crime laws have stiffer penalties than basic assault statutes. There’s a reason for that, she said:

“To send a message that our multicultural society will not tolerate violence that targets victims because of their race, ethnicity, religion or other factors.”

Hate crime statutes are on the books in 45 states and Washington, D.C. Federal hate crime laws can carry sentences ranging from a year to life in prison — even the death penalty can be imposed in hate crimes involving murder.


Glenn Morgan Jr., 41, of Detroit was sentenced in February to three months in prison for mailing the threats to them. Morgan, who faced 12-18 months in prison under a plea deal, also was ordered to perform 200 hours community service and pay a $1,000 fine.


The Smiths said they eventually learned how Morgan tracked them down: He saw an article about them in the Free Press that described the couple giving out Barack Obama signs during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Carl and Susan Smith, who met at a deli while Susan was making corned beef sandwiches, got married in January 2007. But instead of going on a honeymoon, they decided to get politically involved and spent their money making and donating campaign signs for Obama.

The Smiths said they were stunned by what they learned about Morgan. It turned out he is African American, has a doctorate degree and often wrote freelance articles for newspapers such as the Michigan Citizen about issues facing African Americans.