|Great Barrington Police: Racist Threats Do Not Warrant Criminal Charges|
|Staff Reports, |
05:57PM / Wednesday, October 12, 2016
GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Police Department says racist comments between two high school students did not constitute criminal charges.
Earlier this year the Police Department and federal investigators began investigating a reported incident in which a white student at Monument Mountain High School threatened to lynch an African American student. The threat was allegedly made because of the football player's decision to take a knee during the national anthem.
"The altercation did not rise to a physical level through the alleged words used were very concerning and prompted the Police Department to open an investigation," reads a statement from the Great Barrington Police Department.
Investigating officers Jonathan Finnerty and James Bragdon determined that what was said "did not constitute a prosecutable offense and the case has been closed."
"Though the law did not determine this incident to be criminal in nature, the remarks and language used during this incident are reprehensible. They are not condoned by the police department or the community of Great Barrington," Chief William Walsh wrote in a statement.
"We encourage everyone in the community to have frank and honest discussions and to learn from this incident. We must be more mindful of the language used when we speak to one another."
The alleged "verbal altercation" reported having happened on Sept. 26 after the student kneeled during the National Anthem before a game against Athol. Kneeling during the National Anthem has been a nationwide protest, particularly on the professional football field, for months now. The action, first making news when San Francisco 49er's quarterback Colin Kaepernick did it, is in protest of police violence against African Americans.
The students who were accused of making the threat at Monument Mountain were reportedly disciplined by the school. The news of such remarks triggered significant press and school response in the wake of it.