It takes a particular type of depraved character to attack children. A white woman in Iowa was sentenced to more than 25 years in federal prison for hate crime charges against two children of color.
The Department of Justice announced Friday that Nicole Poole Franklin attempted to kill two children ages 12 and 14, who she perceived to be of Middle Eastern or African origin and Mexican. In December 2019, Franklin tried to run the children over with her vehicle as they walked home, presumably from school. She pled guilty to two counts of hate crime charges in April of this year.
The Associated Press reported Franklin’s motivation for attempting to take out the children. She claimed that a young Black boy was like ISIS and would “take her out.” The outlet reported Franklin just missed the child and his older brother.
Reiterating hateful rhetoric aimed at Latinos, Franklin reportedly tried to hit a 14-year-old Latina girl because of anti-immigrant sentiment like fear of them “taking over the country” or stealing people’s jobs. Many alleged hate crime cases are difficult to prove. But Franklin’s clear racial animus made the case easier than most.
“Children deserve to walk the streets of their neighborhood without fear of violence because of what they look like and where they come from and deserve to grow up in a world where they are not targeted simply because of who they are,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to protect the civil rights of all individuals and vigorously prosecute those who commit hate crimes in this country.”
Acting U.S. Attorney Richard D. Westphal for the Southern District of Iowa called Franklin’s actions a “hate-filled” attack devastating to the American Dream. “Her actions temporarily shattered but did not permanently defeat this dream because these two courageous victims, and their amazing families, continue to epitomize the hopes of what our society can be,” Westphal said. “Holding Poole Franklin accountable, not only for her intentional actions, but for the malicious beliefs behind them, is what our justice system should be, and a must to provide just punishment, afford adequate deterrence, and protect the public from further crimes by this defendant.”
The department also announced the sentencing of James Brown from Marion, Virginia. Brown burned a cross in the front yard of a Black family last June.
Brown told witnesses the cross was in retaliation for a protest organized by a member of the family targeted. At his hearing, he admitted attempting to threaten and intimidate the family.
Both incidents occurred near the end of the Trump administration, which oversaw a 28-year high in hate crimes. It’s reported that hate crime incidents increased by at least 20 percent during the Trump administration.