Hate is intensifying across America three weeks after Donald Trump was elected president.
And William Sims, 28, a promising and successful African-American musician from Richmond, California, was the victim of a fatal hate crime on Nov. 12 just days after the contentious presidential election.
Sims was found beaten and shot on a roadway outside a pool hall in Contra Costa County. Police arrested Daniel Porter-Kelly, 31, and charged him with murder, robbery and committing a racially motivated crime, which could bring the death penalty if he is convicted. Warrants have been issued for 31-year-old Daniel Ortega and for 32-year-old Ray Simons, in connection with Sims’ murder. Ortega’s mother has also been arrested.
Will Sims (Twitter)
Sims was not affiliated with a gang, he did not have a criminal record, and was targeted simply because he was Black.
He was shot while trying to run away.
“We want to have justice,” Bill Sims, 72, William’s father, told reporters. “It’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. He was not aggressive. He was never involved in any violence. He was always trying to befriend people, maybe to a fault.”
By all accounts, Sims was a good-natured young man who enjoyed sharing his gift of music with his many fans in California. His murder is a cautionary tale about a racially polarized nation where some white men feel empowered to attack black men simply because of the color of their skin.
They feel emboldened in large part because of Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-minority rhetoric during the campaign, which bolstered white supremacist groups that publicly supported Trump’s candidacy.
Sims’ murder is a stark reminder that hate groups are on the rise and that Black men and women can be targeted and murdered senselessly even in liberal states like California.
“Will was an amazing human being,” Brett Murphy, Sims’ friend, told reporters. “He cared for and helped others any chance he got. He always wanted others to be as happy and have as much fun as he was. He made friends with everyone. He was very charismatic.”
Sims is dead and, sadly, the racial hatred continues.
According to The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate crimes, there have been nearly 900 reports of harassment and intimidation across the nation in the 10 days since Trump won the election.
“Many harassers invoked Trump’s name during assaults, making it clear that the outbreak of hate stemmed in large part from his electoral success,” The Southern Poverty Law Center reported.
Meanwhile, Stephanie Rios, another friend of Sims’, told reporters that he was a noble musician.
“I think the music world will not be the same without him,” she said. “There’s many of us musicians who make the music about ourselves. And this is something you can’t say about him. Will never made the music about himself. He always made the music about music.”
Sims didn’t deserve to be brutally murdered on a dusty roadway, shot while trying to elude a trio of racists. Porter-Kelly and his cronies are hate-filled cowards, but sadly, even hate-filled cowards have their advocates.
Anthony Rayford, a local construction worker, said he was friends with Porter-Kelly and the other two suspects.
“I would never expect that type of behavior out of them,” Rayford told reporters. “Every time they’ve worked with me and for me, I’ve never had any trouble with any of them. Always on time and hard workers.”
The two friends who are connected to Sims’ murder are being hunted by police and are considered armed and dangerous.
“It’s hard for me to swallow that they would be charged for this,” Rayford said.
It’s not hard for me.
What do you think?