Any Black person who’s experienced a racist encounter before has probably felt a strong desire to respond with violence, some even pondering homicidal thoughts.
A 27-year-old Black man from Tampa, Florida can now attest to that latter sentiment after a punch he delivered to a racist customer at the Dunkin’ he works unintentionally resulted in the man dying from his injuries.
Surprisingly enough, the Dunkin’ employee will only serve two years of house arrest for the offense.
CBS News reports that Corey Pujols will also be ordered to complete 200 hours of community service and attend an anger management course after pleading guilty to felony battery in the case. The incident occurred last May when 77-year-old Vonelle Cook, a regular at this particular Dunkin’ location, became loudly irate due to customer service. Pujols then asked him to leave, which resulted in Cook calling him a racial slur. Pujols gave him a warning to not repeat the offensive term, only for Cook to repeat his racist retort. That’s when Pujols punched him, which led to Cook falling on the ground and hitting his head. He died three days later in the hospital.
More on the court proceedings that led to Pujols’ light sentence below, via CBS News:
“Pujols was initially charged with manslaughter.
In agreeing to a plea deal, prosecutors considered the ‘totality of the circumstances,’ including Pujols’ youth, his lack of criminal history and the fact that he did not intend to cause Cook’s death, Grayson Kamm, a spokesman for Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, told the ‘Tampa Bay Times.’ He said they also considered the behavior of Cook and what he said.
‘Two of the primary factors were the aggressive approach the victim took toward the defendant and everyone working with the defendant, and that the victim repeatedly used possibly the most aggressive and offensive term in the English language,’ Kamm told the newspaper.”
It was also revealed that Cook was a registered sex offender, and not one of his family members spoke at the hearing on Monday. Although we will never advocate for the murder of another human being, many facts in this case make it very hard to feel sympathetic to his fatal misfortune.
We hope Corey Pujols learned a valuable lesson from this and takes his second chance to work on his reaction if put in a similar situation in the future.
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