Fourteen Year Old Charged With Cyber-harassment and Ethnic Intimidation

(Cross posted from Flightattendantfailures)

After an approximate 3-month investigation, a 14-year-old Northampton, PA student has been charged with cyber harassment and ethnic intimidation.  The 14-year old took a video of a 16-year old student eating lunch and posted it on Snapchat.  The 14-year old is White.  The 16-year old is Black.

Northampton County District Attorney, John Morganelli, said of the video;

“I reviewed the video today and I find it to be highly offensive and reprehensible. It depicts the 16-year-old minding his own business eating chicken wings while the 14-year-old records him and narrates it by describing the scene as ‘a N-word eating chicken.’

“The video demeans the 16-year-old with numerous uses of the N-word and references to being broke and on welfare. As bad as that is, the 14-year-old published the offensive video on social media including Snapchat that was viewed by numerous students as well as the 16-year-old male, …”

john-morganelli

Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli at a news conference on Jan. 3, 2017. (Rudy Miller)

However, the District Attorney did not know of the video until after the 16-year old Black student was arrested and charged with simple assault, harassment and disorderly conduct.  That’s because while at a football game attended by both student, the Black student retaliated by opening a can of whoop-ass on the 14-year old.

Neither teen has been publicly identified by authorities.

D.A. Morganelli will allow the 14-year-old to seek an “informal adjustment” in juvenile court. If he completes the probationary requirements, he will not be charged with the crimes.

The 16-year old Black student will also be allowed an “informal adjustment.”  Morganelli said the black student had previously been the subject of discrimination from a group of students calling themselves “the rednecks.” He said he had a confederate flag thrown on him when he transferred to the school from out of state.

Penn Live reports that Morganelli came under the fire of critics defending the White student.  His critics contended that the White student’s remarks are constitutionally protected free speech.  Not so says the District Attorney.

“Resorting to epithets or personal abuse is not in any proper sense of communication … guarded by the Constitution, and its punishment as a criminal act raises no such question.”

The 16-year old is represented by attorney Gary Asteak, who praised Morganelli’s decision.

“Words matter. Hate speech has no place in our society, certainly not in our schools.  By taking action today, the district attorney is sending a message to law enforcement and school officials they must be sensitive to this issue. That teachers and parents are responsible for teaching their children not to hate and to respect others.”

Michael Moyer, the attorney for the 14-year-old white student, is not pleased.  He said that his client will agree to the informal adjustment, but he is the “true victim” in this case.  According to Moyer, the 14-year old suffered a concussion and needs physical and occupational therapy.

There is nothing reported that Moyer offered any suggestions for how the 16-year old should have responded to his client’s racial harassment, demeaning, and social media humiliation.

No matter the outcome of this case, chances are that both teens are going to carry emotional scars for the rest of their lives.

Posted on 01/07/2017, in Black lives matter, Cases, civil rights, Cyber-bullying, Cyberharassment and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. I think the 14 year old has had a fortunate outcome. Those people who think he is the real victim should be looking very closely at their beliefs and counting themselves as racist.
    Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

    • David,
      You make a good point. The lawyer for the 14-year old spoke volumes about his bigoted ideologies when saying his client is the real victim.
      Hugs back at cha!

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Hate is still alive. But, society is growing healthier, stronger. We look forward to the day when we are beyond and above this.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. yahtzeebutterfly

    Good work by the Northampton County District Attorney.

    The school principal needs to deal with that group of students that call themselves “the rednecks.” The principal needs to have student-parent meeting with each member of that group in order to put an end to that group’s hateful, intimidating actions and behavior.

    The school district also needs to have an in-service training session to educate the school’s teachers and other personnel on how to create a caring school atmosphere among the students where hate, racism and bullying will not be tolerated.

    Like

    • Yahtzee,
      I totally agree. What’s more is that parents need to know what their kids are doing on social media. I know that kids want what other kids have, but the cell phone thing with all the social media bells and whistles is not helping our kids. Too many have already committed suicide because of mean-spirited bullying.

      Remember the days when parents would take away television or video games for punishment? Why doesn’t some cell phone company have phones where parents can turn off social media and internet access?

      Liked by 3 people

      • yahtzeebutterfly

        Xena,

        “Why doesn’t some cell phone company have phones where parents can turn off social media and internet access?”

        Might not have helped in the case of this fourteen-year-old. One has to question where this student “picked up” his racial hatred.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yahtzee,
          Yes. That is one layer of it. The 14-year old used Snapchat as an instrument to harm the 16-year old. Had the 14-year old not taken that action, he would not have ended up being subjected to a beating and criminal charges. To say it another way, there is no law against not liking or even hating others. To cause them harm takes it to another level. Social media is being used as a means to carry it forward to the level of causing others harm — of violating law.

          Liked by 1 person

          • yahtzeebutterfly

            I was implying that perhaps his parents would not be the type to turn off his social media and internet access. Something is wrong with their supervision of him that at age 14 that he would have such racist hatred…I did not see in any article that his parents scolded him for his racial harassment of another student…

            Like

            • Yahtzee,
              Sorry if I misunderstood. I was not disagreeing with you.

              I’m thinking about that saying that it takes a community to raise a child. Some children are impressed by other kids, television, movies, what they hear from adults, or even older siblings. Ultimately however, it’s the parents who need to communicate, discipline, and show by example.

              But you know, some parents have no idea what their children are being exposed to, or how they are using those bells and whistles on Smart phones.

              Think about Dylann Roof who, at the age of 17 starting searching the internet for “Black on white crime” and ended up being brainwashed by White Supremacist ideologies. Could that have been prevented by his parents? Not the search, but the discipline to recognize what type of seeds he wanted planted in his mind. Too often people, like parents, do not see the danger because the hatred is not directed towards people like them.

              Liked by 1 person

            • yahtzeebutterfly

              Excellent points. I agree.

              Like

  4. yahtzeebutterfly

    “Racist incidents lead Valley religions to denounce bigotry, bullying in schools”
    http://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-lehigh-valley-interfaith-leaders-denounce-bigotry-20161212-story.html
    Excerpt:
    “More than 85 religious and other Lehigh Valley leaders signed a statement saying they were committed to combating hatred and discrimination.”

    This is the text of the statement:

    As interfaith leaders in the Lehigh Valley, we are aware of a climate of tension and anxiety in our community and nation. We lift our voices together, as people of faith, to remind our brothers and sisters that we are all Americans united not only by the concord of our national polity but also by the call to build the “Beloved Community.”

    As faith leaders we commit to overcoming hatred and discrimination in our communities, schools, and places of worship. We are deeply troubled by actions and language that vilify persons based upon their race, nationality, faith, gender, or sexual orientation; we reject the targeting of particular groups in our society, and the promotion of hatred and fear.

    We unapologetically witness against bigotry and bullying that targets individuals because of their identity or faith expression. We acknowledge that there is a global state of division and discord, fueled by intolerance and xenophobia. As people of faith we challenge this dynamic and express our witness against it.

    Our faith traditions—Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Unitarian—call us to love our neighbor, reconcile with our enemies, and strive for the inclusion of all in our communities, especially the most vulnerable. We share with all Americans the responsibility for creating a society where our differences are respected, where dialogue on critical community concerns is the norm, and where collective action for the common good transcends our narrow agendas. We yearn for a time when all people can live and work in mutual respect, while advancing the well-being of our communities and nation.

    Our role as leaders is to proclaim by what we say and what we do that God is a God of love, and that we are people of love—for all of God’s children. To further our witness, we therefore encourage people throughout the Lehigh Valley to join with us and commit specifically:

    To act respectfully toward others, including those representing other faiths and ideological perspectives.

    To refrain from personal attacks on individuals or groups while maintaining the right to disagree vigorously.

    To set an example for our youth in finding ways to settle disputes peacefully and in refraining from acts of bigotry and bullying.

    We also call upon members of our faith communities to participate responsibly, respectfully, and faithfully in community building. We urge listening to diverse voices, dialoging with people across faith and racial boundaries, and creating opportunities to break down walls of division, while creating bridges of hope within our community.

    The statement with the signatures can be found at
    http://lehighchurches.org/interfaith-statement-against-bigotry-and-division/

    Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Fourteen Year Old Charged With Cyber-harassment and Ethnic Intimidation | #BlackLivesMatter Memphis

  2. Pingback: Fourteen Year Old Charged With Cyber-harassment and Ethnic Intimidation — We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident | Magister

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