White teen in Louisiana charged with hate crime after whipping Black student
Louisiana authorities said a white teenager has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after being caught on video whipping a Black student with a belt, USA Today reported.
Terrebonne Parish Sheriff Tim Soignet said that the Vandebilt Catholic High student was charged with simple battery and a hate crime and was booked into the parish’s juvenile detention center.
“I’m very pleased that the school took a front stand on this,” Soignet said in a statement Wednesday. “When we received the complaint, we immediately put our detectives on it. They worked through the weekend so we could get to this point and effect an arrest on that juvenile.”
A video of the incident surfaced online earlier this month, showing the white teen throwing cotton at his Black classmate, who was seated in the school cafeteria, according to USA Today.
The white student could then be seen in the video whipping the Black student with what looked like a belt, the outlet said.
In a statement, Terrebonne Parish’s NAACP President Jerome Boykin praised school officials and authorities for their quick response to the incident, USA Today reported.
“Vandebilt Catholic High School’s administration and the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office sent a strong message to the community that this type of crime will not be tolerated,” Boykin said. “The young man is only 15 years of age, and I hope that he can learn from his mistake.”
The parents of the victim in the incident issued a statement last week thanking the community for their support.
Soignet said authorities took their time to work through this case as it involved juveniles, according to USA Today.
“It’s not as simple as watching the video and making an arrest,” Soignet said. “We wanted to do a very thorough investigation, and that’s what they were able to do. When you’re dealing with juveniles, it’s a different challenge all on its own. It’s not like dealing with adults.”
In a statement, Vanderbilt schools officials said they were investigating the case as well, USA Today reported.
“School officials are working in cooperation with diocesan officials, students and parents to investigate this matter and are committed to ensuring that all individuals involved are held accountable in accordance with school policies,” the school said.