Police officials in Charlottesville, Virginia, arrested and charged a teenager Friday for making a racist threat against black and Hispanic students at Charlottesville High School in an online post.
Charlottesville Police Department arrested the 17-year-old male in relation to an anonymous threat posted to website 4chan containing “biased-based language targeting specific ethnic groups within Charlottesville High School.” The city closed all public schools Thursday and Friday while police investigated the threat’s credibility.
“We want the community to know that any potential threats made against our schools, credible or not, are taken seriously and will be vigorously investigated,” police said in a statement.
A screenshot of the 4chan threat telling white students to stay home because there was going to be a school shooting in an act of ethnic cleansing was posted to Reddit Wednesday, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The unnamed teen was charged with a felony for threatening to commit serious bodily harm to people on school property and a misdemeanor for harassment by computer. He is a resident of Albermarle County and is not a Charlottesville High School student. Officials said the teen identifies as Portuguese.
“In Charlottesville and around the globe, we stand firmly in stating: There are not very fine people on both sides of this issue,” Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney said in a Friday press conference.
The threat prompted Charlottesville City Schools to close for a second consecutive day Friday amid safety concerns while the investigation was ongoing. The Charlottesville police worked with the high school’s superintendent, the Virginia State Police and the FBI during the investigation.
The social website 4chan and offshoot messageboard 8chan, are credited for housing racist threats posted by the New Zealand shooter ahead of an attack this month that saw 50 people shot dead at two mosques. The website was also used to organize the fatal “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017 that resulted in the death of Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old counter protester who was struck by a car. After the violence, President Donald Trump said there were “some very fine people on both sides” of the event.
“The entire staff and School Board stand in solidarity with our students of color — and with people who have been singled out for reasons such as religion or ethnicity or sexual identity in other vile threats made across the country or around the world,” Charlottesville City Schools said in a statement.
“We are in this together, and a threat against one is a threat against all.”
Follow Lilly Price on Twitter @lillianmprice
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