WASHINGTON - Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights DivisionGrace Chung Becker and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois A.Courtney Cox announced today that Joseph L. Brown of Collinsville, Ill., andWilliam Charles Bowen of O'Fallon, Ill., were indicted by a federal grand juryfor conspiring to drive an African-American couple out of their home, and forvandalizing that home with racist graffiti. Brown is also charged with makingfalse statements to a federal investigator.
According to the indictment, on the evening of March 29, 2003, while at aparty, Brown and Bowen came up with a plan to try to drive the victims out oftheir home because Brown and Bowen did not want African-Americans living inBrown’s neighborhood. Brown offered Bowen marijuana in exchange for Bowenpainting the racist graffiti on the home of the victims, and Bowen agreed to doso. It is alleged that Bowen then vandalized the home.
If convicted, Brown faces a maximum punishment of 16 years of imprisonment,and Bowen faces a maximum punishment of 11 years of imprisonment.
FBI Special Agent Rick Crouse investigated this case. The case will beprosecuted by Deputy Chief Bobbi Bernstein and Trial Attorney Evan Rikhye fromthe Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and Assistant U.S.Attorney Angi Scott from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The charges set forth in an indictment are merely accusations and thedefendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.