No Prison Time For White Man Who Pulled Gun On Black Teens During MLK Day

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A white man will not face prison after he pulled a gun and yelled racial slurs at a group of Black teenagers who were protesting housing inequality on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2019.

On Tuesday (May 30), Mark Bartlett, 55, was sentenced to probation for the 2019 MLK Day confrontation, NBC News reports.

Bartlett pleaded guilty to a hate crime and aggravated assault, which could've resulted in decades of behind bars, but Miami-Dade County Judge Alberto Milian granted him a withhold of adjudication, meaning he will avoid a formal conviction.

During MLK Day in 2019, demonstrators gathered near Brickell Bridge in downtown Miami in protest of the potential loss of affordable housing in the impoverished Liberty City neighborhood. The protest coincided with a larger event, "Wheels Up, Guns Down," which involved young Black men riding motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, stopping traffic in the area.

Amid the protest, Bartlett got out of his vehicle and pulled a pistol on teenage demonstrators. Bartlett previously claimed that he was acting in self-defense and testified that he was being held hostage as his SUV was stuck in traffic. He also argued that he was goaded into repeatedly using a racial slur, which he acknowledged was a derogatory term for a Black person, but denied it being racist.

Following a 2021 hearing, Milian ruled that Bartlett didn't act reasonably in the incident.

Bartlett apologized in court on Tuesday and admitted that his words were hateful. He has also been mandated to perform 300 hours of community service and take anger management classes and racial sensitivity training.

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