White man granted probation after yelling racial slurs and pulling gun on Black teens during Miami MLK Jr. Day protest

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Yesterday (May 31), a white man who pulled a gun on Black teens and shouted racial slurs at them received probation. The incident happened in 2019 on Martin Luther King Jr. Day as the adolescents protested housing inequality.

The man was identified as Mark Bartlett, now 55 years old, according to AP News. As part of his probation deal, the Miami resident pleaded guilty to a hate crime and aggravated assault. Another condition of the agreement stated he is not allowed to own any guns for 10 years. Anger management courses, racial sensitivity training and 300 hours of community service were also added to his terms.

Before a courtroom, Bartlett previously acknowledged the slur he yelled at the teens is a derogatory term for Black people but claimed he is not racist. In a cellphone video shared on social media, Bartlett’s girlfriend argued with the teens, claiming one rolled over her foot with a bicycle. Many community members were out that day for a “Wheels Up, Guns Down” event that coincided with the housing protest. Bartlett approached the group with a gun and called the teens “stupid n**gers” several times. The footage was recorded near the Brickell Bridge in downtown Miami. Initially, Bartlett claimed self-defense, but Miami-Dade County Judge Alberto Milian dismissed that theory since Bartlett was filmed leaving his vehicle and advancing upon the group.

Although he faced decades in prison, Milian ordered a withhold of adjudication, meaning Bartlett gets to avoid a formal conviction. “It’s crazy how the justice system [works] now, especially in these states [that] are getting more and more on code with their behaviors! This is the new justice system, which is the same as the old justice system… just devolved!” one person said of the news. A second video from a 2019 tweet shows Bartlett sitting in traffic, reportedly the same day of the protest, yelling racial slurs at another Black person.

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