According to the Department of Justice, on July 27, 2022, Austin Schoemann, 30, of Wichita, brandished a firearm and used racial slurs in order to threaten and intimidate two Black teens while they were entering a QuikTrip. Schoemann also used his firearm to threaten a Black adult who tried to intervene in support of the juveniles’ federally-protected right to be free from racial discrimination when visiting a gasoline station. The indictment also charges Schoemann with using a firearm during and in relation to these crimes of violence.
Schoemann didn’t just stop with Black people. The indictment further alleges that from January 2022 through August 2022, Schoemann interfered with the federally-protected housing rights of a white woman by making threats to hurt or kill any Black people who visited her home. According to DOJ, Schoemann made many of these threats in person as he would stand outside of the woman’s house and shout threats and racial slurs when he believed she had Black visitors in her house or planned to do so. Schoemann was also charged with using the internet to distribute videos and messages to the woman’s family members in which he repeatedly threatened to shoot and kill Black people. He also allegedly destroyed the windshield of a car “he believed belonged to a Black visitor and vowed, “to get rid of every (racial slur) in this town.”
If convicted Austin Schoemann could face a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for the firearms charges, a maximum penalty of five years in prison for the distribution of threatening messages online, and a mandatory minimum of seven years in prison for brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.
Schoemann has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is scheduled for a jury trial starting July 31.
Kansas has a history of white men being charged for racially threatening Black people. In 2020, Colton Donner was charged after he tried to use violence and racial threats to gatekeeper what he believed to be a white-only neighborhood. Donner was also charged with unlawfully possessing a firearm while being a convicted felon.
Both cases were investigated by the FBI Kansas City Field Office and the case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron Smith and Trial Attorney Thomas Johnson.
DOJ insists that the indictment is only an allegation and that all defendants are innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
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