Police in Modesto, California have opened an investigation into a possible hate crime after a Black student at Central Catholic High School received a racist video on social media site Snapchat.
The Snapchat video begins with a rifle case opening and then a white student with a noose around his neck making threats toward the African-American student.
On March 25, while school was closed for the Easter holiday weekend, the Black student received the video while at the store with his mother. His mother, Tanya Porter, saw that her son had a perplexed expression on his face and asked him what was wrong. Then she saw the video.
“I was just flabbergasted. I couldn’t believe it,” said Porter.
As per Snapchat policy, the video was deleted within 24 hours of being opened. The teen’s mother used her phone to record the video for future viewings.
The 12-second profanity-laced video also made Porter reach out to the school. That following Tuesday, Porter reached out to Modesto police. The department is now investigating the video and incident as a hate crime.
“If we think it has something to do with a hate crime we’re going to investigate it as such, and there really is no gray area for us. We’re going to make sure we investigate it to the fullest,” Modesto Police Sgt. Chris Adams said.
According to the Porter family attorney, Jacq M. Wilson, the student in the video shared it with other students who are also friends with Porter’s son. Then those friends shared the video with Porter’s son.
“I heard ‘You must die (profanity),’ ” Tanya Porter told local Modesto news outlet. “I knew I had to do something because that was a threat and then with the noose and the gun, it all just tied together.”
Central Catholic High School President Jim Pecchenino responded to the video and delivered this message on the impending investigation:
“We have received what we believe is a copy of the video and are currently investigating the facts related to it. In addition, we are cooperating with law enforcement. Our students and families are our top priority and I can assure you we will take whatever steps we deem necessary to continue to insure their safety,” Pecchenino wrote in an email to the Centre Daily Times in Modesto.