A Kansas man has confessed to vandalizing his own vehicle with racial slurs.
What Dauntarius Williams intended to be a Halloween prank turned into an FBI investigation. Photos of a black Dodge Avenger covered in graffiti that included messages such as “Go Home,” “Date your own kind,” “Die,” “N****r” and “Whites only,” began circulating on social media on Nov. 1, the Daily Mail reported.
The car was parked at an apartment complex near Kansas State University. The graffiti-covered vehicle sparked racial tension all throughout the college campus and community.
The Black Student Union held an emergency meeting that evening, and a Facebook Live event was also conducted by the school the following day in a bid to console worried parents.
The university also increased patrols on campus, and the FBI launched a civil rights investigation into a potential hate crime.
But according to a news release by the Riley County Police Department, Williams admitted to investigators that he had vandalized his own car as part of a prank that simply went out of control.
Police said Williams “expressed sincere regret that his actions had resulted in the negative media attention that resulted,” The Kansas City Star reported.
“I would like to deeply apologize to the community,” Williams said in a statement released by authorities. “The whole situation got out of hand when it shouldn’t have even started. It was just a Halloween prank that got out of hand. I wish I could go back to that night but I can’t.
“I just want to apologize from the bottom of my heart for the pain and news I have brought you all.”
Police did not file any charges against 21-year-old Williams, fearing it would “not be in the best interests of the citizens” of Manhattan.
“While Williams’ mistake had a decidedly negative impact on the community, please recognize that he, like many of us when we were young, is a young man who made a mistake and is now doing his best to own up to it,” Police Director Brad Schoen told The Kansas City Star.
Students were “outraged and hurt” to learn that the entire incident had been a sham.
“As a black student who has witnessed racist incidents first-hand around Manhattan this hurts the credibility of students who actually want to step out and say something about it,” said Andrew Hammond, a journalism major at the university. “I’m not sure what type of human being does this kind of thing as a prank.”
Hammond said he spoke with Williams about the graffiti, and even shared photos of his car on social media.
Williams told The Kansas City Star he was a student at the university, although the school said they had no records of him being a student.