Five students face misdemeanor battery charges for a fight on a school bus, according to the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.
Video from the Nov. 21 incident shows several students of color punching and slapping a white student.
A Twitter user, who identified herself as the parent of the 14-year old boy, tweeted out an excerpt from the video Thursday afternoon, attaching it to a post from Nov. 21 that implied the attack was racially motivated because the teen wore a President Trump hat. By Friday evening, the video had accrued more than 4 million views and thousands of angry replies.
My attorney @FoyeWalkerPA said it's okay to release the video, 😡warning graphic 😡 keep in mind this is only the first 21 seconds of the video…please RT to have these two girls and 3 boys held accountable. pic.twitter.com/8oEz79K2xN
— American Hybrid (@AmericanHybrid_) December 12, 2019
Warning: the video attached to the tweet shows graphic violence.
By Friday, the social media furor had elicited a response from both Rex Mitchell, the Hamilton County School District superintendent, and the sheriff’s office.
Mitchell says although the parent claimed the confrontation was motivated by the boy wearing a Trump hat, the school district’s investigation found no evidence of any Trump apparel.
For those asking where the hat is in the video, I posted this on 11/22/19. https://t.co/2a3OIfJ9hA
— American Hybrid (@AmericanHybrid_) December 13, 2019
Instead, the superintendent characterized the attack as “a verbal altercation between two students that escalated when additional students became involved.” He added that they disciplined the involved students and turned over their findings to the sheriff’s office.
“We absolutely do not condone the use of physical force between students,” Mitchell said in a statement. “… This was a very unfortunate incident completely unrelated to any political statements or agendas.”
The sheriff’s office’s stance mirrored that of the school district. After a discussion with the state attorney’s office, the two agencies decided the incident did not fall into the category of a hate crime.
“It seems that some misinformation has been passed along with the video,” the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook. “We at the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office are as disturbed about this video as you are.”
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