Police: Boy, 16, made racial comment at NJ Walmart
WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. – A 16-year-old boy who police said made an announcement at Walmart ordering all black people in a southern New Jersey store to leave was charged with harassment and bias intimidation, authorities said Saturday.
The boy, whose name is not being released because he is a juvenile, grabbed one of the courtesy phones at Walmart’s Washington Township store Sunday evening and calmly announced: “Attention, Walmart customers: All black people, leave the store now,” police said.
The teen was arrested Friday and released to the custody of his parents; police did not know whether he had a lawyer.
“This was an extremely disturbing event on many levels,” Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton said at a news conference. “Any statements like these that can cause harm or grave concern must be addressed as quickly we possibly can.”
Dalton said the case would be handled in juvenile court in neighboring Atlantic County, where the boy lives. He would not say whether the boy has a criminal record, citing the teen’s age, and would not disclose the teen’s race, saying that did not factor into the investigation.
The 16-year-old has been charged with harassment and bias intimidation.
Not disclosing his race, because it didn’t factor into the investigation. Meaning not white. Even so, a mindless juvenile prank shouldn’t result in an arrest and a charge that could result in up to year in a junior hoosegow. New Jersey supposedly has a new Governor that supposedly cares about wasting taxpayer money; with one stroke of a pen, Chris Christie can save the state’s taxpayers the dear cost of prosecuting and imprisoning a teenage boy whose big sin in life was trespassing on private property to commandeer a PA system for a prank. Then again, Chris Christie’s record on race is horrible, as Hal Turnergate showed.
I find it curious that the case will be handled in Atlantic County instead of Gloucester County. I looked up the racial demographics of both, and while both are majority white, the young man’s home county of Atlantic is twice as black in terms of percentage as Gloucester, the home of the Wal*Martinez in question.
UPDATE 3/23: The Police Chief of Washington Township, N.J. put every single member of his department’s detective staff, 13 in all, to arrive at this “doer.” WTF is he doing putting thirteen detectives on the trail of an obvious (and what turned out to be juvenile) prank? There aren’t 13 detectives on every non-white-on-white brutal violent hate crime.
UPDATE 3/23: According to this, the prankster is white. Now, since this is a “criminal suspect” we’re talking about here, this could mean classified as white, but really Hispanic.