White Student, 14, Charged With Hate Crime After Posting a ‘Slave for Sale’ Ad on Craigslist Featuring a Black Classmate
Matthew Wright, Daily Mail, November 21, 2019
A suburban Chicago 14-year-old faces hate crime and other charges for allegedly posting a picture of an African American classmate on Craigslist with the caption, ‘Slave for sale.’
Prosecutors allege the white Naperville Central High School freshman also included ‘an offensive racial slur’ in the ad that they called ‘beyond disturbing.’
But a defense attorney insists the students were friends and school authorities are handling the matter with an apology and suspension.
The juvenile appeared Wednesday in DuPage County juvenile court, where he is charged with two counts of committing a hate crime and one count of disorderly conduct. He is due back in court December 18.
Assistant State’s Attorney Lee Roupas said the youth took the photo last week while the two sat at the same lunch table. Prosecutors describe the allegations as ‘serious and aggravating,’ and the actions risked the safety of the victim.
‘Hate crimes have no place in our society and will not be tolerated,’ the county’s State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin said in a statement. ‘Anyone, regardless of age, accused of such disgraceful actions will be charged accordingly.’
Defense attorney Harry Smith said the two were friends and Central’s principal is ‘getting the two friends together’ and coordinating an apology. Authorities say the youth is serving an in-school suspension.
It’s not yet clear what kind of penalty the juvenile might face if convicted. Paul Darrah, a spokesman for the state’s attorney office, told The Associated Press that the aim for juveniles is ‘accountability, not punishment,’ though the student is ‘going to face probation at a minimum.’
The ad follows an Oct. 26 incident at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Naperville, in which some black customers said they were asked by restaurant employees to change tables because of a regular customer’s request.
Darrah said that case ‘had no bearing on our decision to file charges against the juvenile.’
The racist ad was posted to Craiglist but was heavily circulated across social media, including on Snapchat.
It showed a photo of an African American student under the words ‘Slave for sale (Naperville).’
‘Hardworkin thick n***a slave. For ‘da’ low,’ the offensive advert concluded.
Naperville Central High School Principal Bill Wiebrook sent an email to parents Monday saying administrators became ‘aware of a racially insensitive electronic post and worked as quickly as possible to investigate and address this with the students involved.’
‘The sentiment being displayed is not reflective of NCHS,’ he continued. ‘We hold our students accountable for their behavior, which includes appropriate disciplinary consequences.
Wiebrook would not allude as to what exact punishment the two students would face.
The Naperville Police Department released a statement on Twitter saying that it had initiated a hate crime investigation Monday after becoming aware of the incident.
‘We are working closely with the @DuPageSAO and will provide an update on our investigation once it is complete,’ the department added.
The ad follows an Oct. 26 incident at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant in Naperville in which some customers said they were asked by restaurant employees to change tables because a regular customer nearby didn’t want to sit next to black people. The restaurant fired two employees involved.