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Accused Fredrick Douglass statue vandals ask the community for forgiveness

December 17, 2018 05:38 PM

A pair of St. John Fisher football players who are accused of attempting to steal a Frederick Douglass statue are asking for forgiveness.

John Boedicker, 20, of Endicott and Charles Milks, 21, of Kenmore, both football players at St. John Fisher, are charged with criminal mischief in the fourth degree.

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In a statement to News10NBC, Boedicker says: 

"I would like to comment that there is nothing racially motivated about this. Me and my friend were really that stupid and intoxicated, did not think our actions through. I see why it appears as racial but I can assure you we said nothing racial on scene, not sure how that started. We actually had no idea who the statue was of when it was forced down, genuinely a stupid mistake. Getting a lot of hate from the black community and I have no disrespect towards them. I am the opposite of racist and I really hope people know that. I see why they are upset and I’m going to respond to everyone with respect explaining myself and my dumb actions."

Adding to that sentiment, Milks tells News10NBC:

"Me and my friend were just drunk. This was not racially motivated we had no idea who the statue even was, we were just two idiots walking home from the bar that had a bad idea, I’m sorry for my actions and want to apologize and I’ve already reached to the original artist of the sculptor to talk. I would just like to say we were blindsided by these racial allegations as we only found this out when reading the article this evening, there was no mention of it all during processing and this is all a big drunken misunderstanding."

The incident occurred early Sunday morning at the intersection of Alexander and Tracy Street. The damaged statue is now in police custody.

In response to the incident, St. John Fisher President Gerald Rooney released the following statement:

"The College learned earlier this evening through various media reports that Fisher students were allegedly involved in vandalism of a statue honoring the legacy of Frederick Douglass in the City of Rochester. This behavior goes against who we are and who we strive to be.  We share the outrage that members of the Rochester community feel about this incident. St. John Fisher College expects all members of our campus community to conduct themselves at all times in a manner that is consistent with the values articulated in our mission statement and in the Fisher Creed.  Those who engage in behavior that may violate these standards are held accountable through our appropriate internal processes.  I want to assure our campus community and the community at large that respect, open-mindedness, and integrity are of the utmost importance to the College, and we pledge to continue to demonstrate our commitment to these values to all members of the greater Rochester community and our own campus community. Given this reported incident, we recognize the need to redouble our efforts to promote these values and expectations and continue to educate our campus community around issues of diversity and race. St. John Fisher College has always cooperated fully with members of the law enforcement community, and will do so in addressing this matter." 

This year was a year-long celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of the famous abolitionist. Douglass lived in Rochester and is buried at Mount Hope Cemetery.

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