COMMENTARY | Far too often a child is in the midst of controversy and hears too much for their young ears or see too much for their young eyes. While some think it’s OK to allow them to see and hear things, it’s sometimes results in damage not just to the child, but to many others. Had it not been for officers investigating the claim and realizing the information provided or the actions of the child just didn’t sit well, a story made up by a Pensacola 10-year-old could have escalated into a serious situation.
With Trayvon Martin and two missing Florida men at the helm of controversy in Florida, a 10-year-old’s tale of an attempted kidnapping could have caused major racial tension in Pensacola. False details of a kidnapping attempt were given to school officials when the child arrived at Scenic Heights Elementary School.
The student, whose name is being withheld due to her age, named a Black male as the culprit. Perhaps it had to do with the widespread media attention regarding the Trayvon Martin case. Or perhaps the child needed and wanted attention. Whatever the reason, the tale of a 10-year-old who decided either she did not want to be punished for being late or just felt she needed to be the center of attention was finally resolved when investigators realized something just did not sound right about her story and the child confessed to making the story up.
After questioning the child, the investigation was halted. Media representatives were immediately called to retract the story. While racial discord is already being tested, last week a Scenic Heights student reported she had been followed by a Black male in a green mini van. Her claim was the man tried to get her to get in his van.
She rattled off far too many details making her story a little to hard to believe by many readers. A few commenters immediately felt there just was something wrong about this tale. A 10-year-old retaining so many details just had a hint of something amiss. Some felt the young girl may have an amazing ability to tell tales. While others felt she might have been in an environment cultivating this type of action. Issues in Pensacola can sometimes run rampant regarding race related issues.
None of the student’s details were sketchy. She stated the following details:
- The male began following her as she was walking to school.
- He was somewhere between the age of 35-45.
- He wore an orange suit and was driving a green mini van.
- He had a gun and told her to get in the van.
One reader commenting felt it was strange she could tell he had on a suit while seated the entire time. Others thought the details were far too similar to the picture of George Zimmerman shown on every television and in every newspaper.
After several days, another report was printed. The child had fabricated the tale. The State Attorney’s Office decided not to file criminal charges against the child. They decided to allow the Escambia County School Board to handle any disciplinary actions. Superintendent of schools, Malcolm Thomas, stated since the student reported the bogus charges after entering school, the school board has responsibility in disciplining the student if any actions can or should be taken. On April 4, another 10-year-old is in the news in Pensacola after reportedly breaking into a school as reported here:
10-year-old Arrested for Breaking into School.
Arrest Warrant Issued for Reverend Hugh King
Reverend Hugh King is back in the public’s eye again. Dr King is trying to regain his reputation. He has started a new church and is running for public office. This time, however, he is back in the news due to criminal charges filed against him. King is running for a seat on the Escambia County Commission, District 3, has been charged by Lumon May with criminal charges stemming from a March 29 altercation. May is also running for the same seat. May reported the incident to the Escambia County Sherriff Office and filed charges but declined to discuss the issue any further.
Ironically, the episode was played out during a meeting regarding violence against our young Black males. Community leaders came together to provide information and guidance to Black males meeting was to offer ideas regarding protection from crimes and arrest, giving guidance and entertaining questions from the audience. Over two hundred fifty people were in attendance.
During or after the meeting, something went wrong and an altercation resulted. A few weeks prior to this incident, George Hawthorne (African American Chamber of Commerce) and John Jerald’s (City Council Member District 3) exchanged words at a meeting held at the Pensacola City Hall.
Tensions run high in these elections. Sometimes candidates become embroiled in serious heated debates; however, they generally are able to act diplomatically and maintain control. It appears the issue has been intensifying since an event held at the Zion Hope Primitive Baptist Church on March 29. Sources stated that during the event, King hit May and later presented a gun.
King was a city council member from 1999 through 2004. He is once again running for a city seat. He also was the former pastor of the Greater Union Baptist Church where his father was founding pastor. King was arrested in 2007 after charges were filed regarding cocaine possession. At the time, King was serving on the Pensacola Maritime Park Board, but resigned his position. He plead no contest to the charges and later was placed on probation for 2 years. In 2009, his conviction was overturned by the First District Court of Appeals in Tallahassee, Fla. With these new charges, King’s run for office may be over before it begins.
10 Year Old Falsifies Attempted Kidnapping Charges
Charges Filed Against Hugh King