Teen gets jail time, probation for racist videos
Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 10/7/2019, 3:25 p.m.
A 16-year-old has been sentenced to five days in a juvenile jail and 18 months of probation for threatening to shoot up his Catholic school in South Carolina in a group chat where he also sent racist videos, reports the Associated Press.
The teen said in court Wednesday he was sorry and disgusted at himself for the pain he caused Cardinal Newman School in Columbia and the African-American community, the State newspaper reported. The videos made over the summer showed the White teen shooting a box he says represents all Black men. He used racial slurs several times. Black people “are stinky and they just suck,” the teen said in one video.
“They are bad people.” The teen also threatened to shoot people at the school, which led to the charges filed against him in July. The teen told Family Court Judge Robert Guess the videos were a poor attempt at humor, but did not reflect the values he learned through his family or the Boy Scouts, where he achieved the highest Eagle Scout rank. “When I think about the amount of people who have been hurt by my foolish actions, the Cardinal Newman community and the African-American community specifically at Cardinal Newman, I feel terribly sorry, guilty and disgust at what I have done and how that has affected others,” he said.
The teen pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and unlawful communications in Family Court. His name wasn’t released because he is a juvenile. The judge also ordered the teen to attend a wilderness camp to help with behavioral and social skills. The guns in his parents’ house must be given to relatives approved by the sheriff’s office.
Cardinal Newman Principal Robert Loia read from a statement, saying the teen’s actions created distrust in the school that has continued this school year. Parents were angry they weren’t told about the video or threats until the newspaper wrote a story about them. “As a member of a community that believes in the dignity of all people, (he) acted in direct opposition to that fundamental Christian belief,” Loia said. “At Cardinal Newman those actions created an overall atmosphere of fear, anger and dread.”
Six other statements from students and parents were also read. Prosecutor Eden Hendrick said she wouldn’t typically ask for jail time for a teen with no previous record. But she said time behind bars was needed “to really feel the sting and truly understand what happened in this case.” The teen was immediately taken from the courtroom Wednesday to serve the five days.
“I have been doing this for almost 15 years and this has been one of the most difficult cases we’ve ever had,” Hendrick told the judge. “His actions on one hand seem so juvenile and minor. Those actions on the other hand have had such an impact on the community that it’s even hard to describe.”
South Carolina does not have a hate crime law, so the teen couldn’t be charged for the racist videos.