A Midwestern man has been charged with a hate crime after yelling racist and homophobic threats at a group of teenagers in an Idaho McDonald’s.
Cell-phone video shows Richard Sovenski antagonizing about a dozen members of a Christian youth group who had traveled from Spokane, Washington, on July 12 to hear a guest preacher in Coeur d’Alene. “Why don’t you get a fuckin’ job,” Sovenski, 52, shouted at one of the kids. “I will fuck you up in a fuckin’ heartbeat, you fuckin’ little faggot. Fuck you, you fuckin’ half-breed.”
As the group left, one teen responded, “That’s why I don’t come to Idaho,” to which Sovenski bellowed, “Yeah! That’s why you don’t come to Idaho! We’re real fucking men here, you bitch!”
Jose Ceniceros, the group’s chaperone, had taken them to McDonald’s for ice cream. He says they were getting ready to leave when the bigoted rant began, and it continued in the restaurant’s parking lot. Sovenski’s wife told police the incident started because the youths were “being rude, dancing and running around causing a disturbance,” and her husband addressed their behavior. Ceniceros strongly disputes her account.
As the teens exited, Sovenski sucker-punched Ceniceros and threw him to the ground. That’s when he began filming the encounter. Sovenski and his son started to head back into the restaurant, but not before Sovenski fired off a parting shot: “Get the fuck out of Idaho. Fuck you, you fuckin’ half-breeds.”
His son, who had been trying to hold his father back, then grabbed his genitals and gestured at the kids.
Sovenski left the eatery by the time police arrived, but was arrested five days later. He’s been charged with one count of misdemeanor battery and one count of felony malicious harassment under Idaho’s hate crime statute.
“The kids couldn’t really believe it,” Ceniceros told the Inlander. “Five minutes earlier we were in church.”
Sovenski told police his wife was recovering from surgery on her shoulder and he worried the kids might hurt her. Initially he insisted the encounter was just only verbal, but he later admitted to pushing Ceniceros because “he thought he was going to get hit.” He’s scheduled to appear in court on the battery charge in early September. A preliminary hearing on the malicious harassment charge has been scheduled for July 27.
Is this encounter at an Idaho McDonald’s indicative of a rising tide of hate in America? Speak out in the comments.