Updated: Friday, 11:40 a.m.
Manhattan citizens have been puzzled since the RCPD announced Monday 21-year-old Dauntarius Williams wouldn’t be charged for any crimes after defacing his own car with racist graffiti near the campus of Kansas State University.
The incident, which came to light in a big way on Nov. 1 after photos of the vehicle circulated on social media, prompted the K-State Black Student Union to hold an emergency meeting that night. Williams, a black Manhattan man, initially told police his car was vandalized. He also falsely claimed to be a K-State student.
When the RCPD released Williams’ confession Monday and said no charges would be made, the BSU responded with a statement that night urging authorities to reconsider.
Thursday, Riley County Attorney Barry Wilkerson told KMAN charges wouldn’t have allowed the RCPD to make Williams’ confession public knowledge.
“I hope it is clear that had we charged, we could not have released the statement or made it known to the public,” Wilkerson answered in an email from KMAN comprised of questions concerning the county’s decision not to prosecute.
Wilkerson further clarified Friday morning an arrest warrant would’ve allowed the public to know Williams was charged with interference with law enforcement, but his statement — which included a public apology and admission of guilt — wouldn’t have been introduced until his trial date, which, could’ve been as soon as 30 days later or as long as 4-5 months later. Wilkerson added if Williams went out of state the process could’ve taken even longer. Williams told the Kansas City Star before his admission to police he was considering going to California where he said he has family.
If Williams plead guilty or no contest at trial, then authorities could’ve publicly released Williams’ statements.
“It would have depended on a lot of factors,” Wilkerson said Friday.
Interference with law enforcement is a class A misdemeanor.
Wilkerson also said authorities informed him a neighbor of Williams made the initial police report about the car, but that Williams did speak to police.
Tuesday, RCPD Director Brad Schoen told KMAN it was important for both himself and Wilkerson to find an opportunity for calm, rather than prolong the incident with charges.
“There’s a time for prosecution and there’s a time for mercy,” he said. “We both felt this was the appropriate time for mercy and for the system to not prosecute Mr. Williams and to just try and heal the differences and divides that resulted.”