A south suburban woman whose racially charged rant at a black couple last fall earned her viral infamy and hate crime charges, will spend at least a few weeks in jail.
Jessica Sanders, of Alsip, was eventually acquitted of two felony hate crime counts and an aggravated battery charge, but was convicted of a misdemeanor of battery.
Sanders was sentenced by Cook County Judge James Linn this week to one year probation, with the first 90 days spent behind bars.
Sanders, 27, was taken into custody after a hearing Tuesday, and with credit for time served after her arrest last year.
Sanders should serve only half the 90-day sentence, her attorney Josh Kutnick said on Thursday.
“This was a horrible incident in her life, and one she is not proud of at all,” the defense attorney said.
Joliet teacher Ernest Crim III and his wife encountered Sanders in July, when they picked up a bean bags Sanders and some friends had been playing with during Margarita Fest at the South Shore Cultural Center.
Sanders took issue with the Crims, and the confrontation quickly escalated into a shouting match, with Sanders, who is white, repeatedly dropping the N-word as she yelled at the Crims, who are black.
Ernest Crim captured some of the heated exchange on his cell phone, which Sanders swatted out of his hand briefly. Some of the footage included Sanders spitting on Crim’s wife. Sanders’ misdemeanor battery conviction was for spitting on Cassie Crim.
Ernest Crim posted the video on YouTube, where it has been viewed some 913,000 times as of Thursday afternoon.
Ernest Crim said Thursday he was stunned by the attention the video got.
“I pulled out my camera because I was shocked at what was happening, so I guess I should be surprised that other people were shocked,” he said.
In the months since, he has used the experience as subject matter for his classes.
Ernest Crim, who was present for Sanders’ sentencing, said he hadn’t expected her to get any jail time, and was pleased.
Though Linn had acquitted Sanders of hate crime charges, Ernest Crim felt the judge’s sentence showed Linn had considered the “totality” of the incident.
“There has to be some kind of punishment for that kind of blatant disrespect for another human being,” Ernest Crim said. “The whole thing wasn’t about making her life miserable. It was about getting justice for the situation.”
Sanders, who had attended the festival with black friends, told the Chicago Sun-Times in October that she was not racist, and had been afraid to return to her home after receiving threats after the video made it onto the internet.
“My best friend since I was 14 is black, and I lost her over this. I have nieces and nephews that are mixed,” Sanders said in October. “People are saying I’m a white supremacist. That’s not who I am.”