A high school church youth group from Spokane, Washington, traveled to nearby Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on July 12 to listen to a guest preacher. After seeing the speaker, the group, led by chaperone Jose Ceniceros, went to a McDonald’s for ice cream.
As the group departed, Richard Sovenski, 52, approached them and began shouting racial slurs and insults. When Ceniceros moved toward the exit with the children, Sovenski reportedly punched him and threw him to the ground, at which point the chaperone realized he should be filming the incident for later evidence.
Warning: Vulgar Language
•This is Richard Sovenski of Hayden, Idaho
•This is him yelling racist & homophobic slurs at teens, some who are POC
•He's been arrested, charged w/a hate crime, & booked into Kootenai Co jail
This is why I say: POC & White Allies—Record Everything pic.twitter.com/mIDudUIqi5
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@MuslimIQ) July 24, 2018
In the video, which Ceniceros released to The Inlander, Sovenski can be heard saying:
Why don’t you get a f—kin‘ job. I will f—k you up in a f—kin‘ heartbeat you f—kin’ little f—got. Oh you f—k you, you f—kin’ half breed.
Giving out the maximum punishment will be the best deterrent
— Love 0721 (@Love072110) July 19, 2018
They also need to get his crappy buddy who made obscene gestures at teenagers.
— Stellarjay (@Stellarjay2) July 22, 2018
Throughout the video, another man held back Sovenski and almost convinced him to disengage before both turned back and threw a last insult to the youth group.
The unnamed man grabbed his genitals and Sovenski yelled:
Get the f—k out of Idaho. F—k you, you f—kin’ half breeds.
That’s why I don’t come to Idaho,” one of his youth group members can be heard saying as Sovenski cusses them.
“Yeah! That’s why you don’t come to Idaho!” Sovenski replies. “We’re real f–king men here, you bitch!”
— Milo Miles (@MiloMiles777) July 24, 2018
The Coeur d’Alene Police were called but Sovenski was long gone by the time they arrived. He was arrested five days later on “on one count of misdemeanor battery and one count of felony malicious harassment, Idaho’s hate crime statute.” He is currently being held in the Kootenai County jail.
The witness told me he spoke to the kids after the incident, and said what I think most of us would say:
"I'm so sorry for what happened. This is not Idaho … you’re welcome here. That over there (Sovenski), that’s not welcome here.”
— Maureen Dolan (@MaureenCDAPress) July 19, 2018
This bigot Richard Sovenski deserves all that is coming to him
— James Randazzo (@JamesRandazzo23) July 23, 2018
Ceniceros says the whole situation was surreal:
The kids couldn’t really believe it. Five minutes earlier we were in church.
I've driven across Idaho twice. I even spent the night in Coeur D'Alene. It's gorgeous. It sucks that the beautiful land is infected with vermin like Safety Vest Dick Sovenski.
— moe (@moe_is_god) July 24, 2018
While the youth group may have enjoyed the guest preacher, it seems that Sovenski’s the one who needs a sermon about loving thy neighbor.
That's awful. I have and will never understand why (white) people hate others just because they look different than they do. As a white ally, I am super embarrassed and very deeply sorry. ??
— Aimée B Hogan (@aimeehogan8) July 24, 2018
Keep up the great work. A movement is building….of conversation and education where good people stand shoulder to shoulder and say no more with one voice.
— Daw_2guard (@Daw_2guard) July 24, 2018