Posted on March 15, 2024

6 Eighth Graders Face Criminal Charges Over ‘Hateful and Racist’ Online Chat: DA

Meredith Deliso, ABC, March 14, 2024

Six Massachusetts eighth graders face criminal charges in connection with “hateful and racist comments” in a group chat that allegedly included threats and a mock slave auction, officials said.

The group chat unfolded on Snapchat on Feb. 8 into the early morning hours of Feb. 9 among multiple juveniles in Southwick, a suburb of Springfield {snip}

Several students “expressed hateful and racist comments, including notions of violence toward people of color, racial slurs, derogatory pictures and videos, and a mock slave auction directed at two juveniles known to them,” Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said at a press briefing on Thursday {snip}

The chat was reported to school authorities in Southwick on Feb. 9, Gulluni said. Southwick police were also notified. Gulluni said he became aware of the incident on Feb. 15 and launched an investigation into the use of “hate speech and race-based bullying.”

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All six have been charged with threat to commit a crime, according to the district attorney’s office. One has additionally been charged with interference with civil rights and witness interference, while another has also been charged with interference with civil rights {snip}

“With this I intend to be very clear: Hatred and racism have no place in this community {snip}” Gulluni said.

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