Excellent news coming out of Fort Bend County for a 15-year old African American student and his family, who found themselves fighting felony counterfeiting charges filed against him.
Fort Bend Elkins High School sophomore Alec Hunter was due back in court on Monday, May 23, but according to Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey, he has chosen to drop the felony counterfeiting charges against Hunter after reviewing the evidence of his case and determining that the charges have no merit.
Earlier this month, the Forward Times wrote an article, “Counterfeit Conspiracy: The New Pipeline to Prison,” where we shared the story of how Alec was charged with third-degree felony forgery, after finding a $10 bill on the floor in the early morning hours of November 4, 2015, and later attempting to use it to buy a ham sandwich and some chips during lunch. Upon selecting his food items to purchase, he gave the $10 bill to a cafeteria worker, who took the bill and used their counterfeit detection pen to see if it was real. The bill failed the test. The cafeteria worker then took the bill and turned it over to the FBISD police, who went directly to the Fort Bend County D.A. to have the young man charged with a felony. Two months later, Alec and his family were made aware he was facing a felony forgery charge for passing a counterfeit bill.
Fort Bend ISD issued a statement saying:
“Most of the District’s counterfeit or forgery cases have been solicited for investigation by a victim and not through a school-related transaction. FBISD police officers are committed to perform their duties for all students, regardless of the issue or concern.”
His dad, Louis Hunter, was relieved about the developments, but is still concerned about his son.
“Alec is a great kid and now he can get back to focusing on what’s most important to him – school,” said Louis. “Since he has been going through this ordeal, he has fought hard to stay focused. He is still an A/B student, but I can tell that this has impacted him some, especially because a few of his grades dipped slightly. I want to make sure he is okay.”
Officials previously wanted Alec to plead guilty and in exchange for that plea deal, prosecutors agreed to have him go to counseling, be on his “best behavior” for six months and then have the charges later dismissed. The family refused, which kicked off the chain of events that led to the charges being filed against him.
Many in the community are still seeking answers and want to know how that $10 counterfeit bill found its way on the floor of Elkins High School that morning, and more importantly who put it there in the first place. Many are recommending that Fort Bend ISD and other school districts look closely at these policies to ensure they are not over policing schools and inadvertently creating a new pipeline to prison system that disparately impacts minority students like Alec.
The Forward Times will stay on top of this issue and keep our readers up-to-date on the latest.