BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) __ A St. Clair County official says he’s innocent of a hate-crime charge linked to an altercation with a 14-year-old boy.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports 51-year-old Kevin Malone pleaded not guilty Thursday to the felony count during his arraignment in Belleville.

Afterward, Malone insisted he won’t follow the county board chairman’s suggestion that he resign as head of the county’s board of review.

Malone, who is white, has said the July 8 fist fight with the black teenager was started by the boy after the two exchanged racial epithets. The boy says Malone instigated things by calling
him and other teenagers racial slurs.

Malone earns $42,230 a year in heading the three-member board that hears property owners’ complaints related to their assessments and tax matters.  He is free on bond.

Copyright The Associated Press


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