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Wednesday, January 04, 2017

DA John Morganelli Authorizes Hate Crime Charge Over Racist Video

Being the new kid at a strange school can be pretty tough. But imagine how things were for a 16 year-old African male who was the new kid at predominately white Saucon Valley High School this year. He was harassed by a group of kids calling themselves the "Red Necks." One way in which they let him know he was different was when they tried to drape him with a Confederate flag. Another way was to call him derogatory names. But things were too much for this student when he was presented a with a Snapchat video of him eating lunch in October, taken by a 14 year-old without the older boy's knowledge. He assaulted the fledgling cameraman. Then he was charged by Lower Saucon police with simple assault and harassment. But now the budding broadcaster has also been charged. District Attorney John Morganelli announced yesterday that, following an investigation by Detective Paul Hulbert, he has authorized charges of cyber harassment of a child, a third degree misdemeanor, and ethnic intimidation, a second degree misdemeanor.

All charges against both boys have been filed in Northampton County Juvenile Court. Since neither has a history with police, both will be offered participation in a diversionary program called informal adjustment, in which the charges are ultimately dismissed after a period of probation.

Morganelli found the video to be "outrageous, insulting, demeaning and a video that seriously disparages the African American male's physical characteristics and specifically his African American race."

Though he declined to release the video, but detailed why it appalled him. It was a video of the 16 year-old black boy eating chicken, with a running commentary by the white 14 year-old, which he them distributed to others on Snapchat.
"So there's a chicken eating contest here. This f---in' n----- is taking his time. He's getting free f---in' chicken, you n-----. It has been a minute and he's on the same f---in' wing. Oh, now the black kid is taking the wings back up to his seat. What, what, are you that broke?" At this point, "His welfare check canceled" scrolls across the screen.

According to the Pennsylvania State Police crime records, 1,975 people have been victimized statewide by hate crimes, or ethnic intimidation, since 2000. The statute requires an underlying offense like cyber harassment, which is alleged to have occurred here. Ethnic intimidation occurs if the underlying offense is committed because of the person's race, color, religion or ethnic heritage.

Morganelli noted that after announcing his intention to investigate this matter, he received a number of complaints that he was infringing on people's free speech rights. He acknowledged that people have a First Amendment right to be bigoted. But he explained that the statute does not punish bigoted thought or speech. It merely provides for an enhanced punishment against someone who commits crimes against others based on their ethnicity or race.

In the past, Morganelli has been a defender of free speech.

  • He dismissed Flag law violations against a Washington Township protester who flew the American flag upside down.
  • He dismissed disorderly conduct charge against anti-war activists who were peaceably assembled outside the Palmer Township post office on income tax day. 
  • He dismissed the most serious charges against "Nature Dave," a bank protester who walked inside an Easton bank with a sign declaring, "You're being robbed."
  • In the most recent presidential election, he dismissed littering charges filed against a West Easton woman who was placing Donald Trump signs on utility poles. 

He said those cases are a far cry from a crime committed against someone simply because of his color or ethnicity.

Morganelli hopes the charges filed here send the message that "this kind of conduct will not be tolerated. ... Harassment, whether it's based on race or otherwise, is a crime."

"Maybe next time our office won't be so generous," he concluded.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

I lean toward protecting the First Amendment in all these cases. He wasn't yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. He got the shit beaten out of him and his provocation should be heavily weighed at the assaulter's sentencing. I'd give the dude a $1 fine and a handshake. The little bigot received just the right punishment. If he's not marginalized by right-thinking students and friends, we have a much bigger problem in that community.

Anonymous said...

Under what Pennsylvania Statute is this juvenile being charged ? To me a "Hate Crime" = "Thought Crime"

If people are offended by what someone else thinks, So fucking what ?

Anonymous said...

There are other ways to punish this jackass. If he is a disruptive influence to other students in the school, then the Saucon Valley School District has established methods to expel him. He is sixteen years old.

Anonymous said...

@Real Donald Trump, our children are watching your deplorable behavior. The number of local incidents that occurred immediately before and after the election are no coincident.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to believe a school administrator would ignore such a serious issue especially in today's social climate but apparently in this case those in charge appear to have looked the other way.

Anonymous said...

"@Real Donald Trump, our children are watching your deplorable behavior. The number of local incidents that occurred immediately before and after the election are no coincident."

Pigs in a blanket; fry the bacon. Death to cops ........... and the crown jewel of fake news: hands up; don't shoot.

Yeah, this crap just started immediately before the election.

Anonymous said...

This little punk is getting exactly what he deserved and it's obvious he was raised this way by a bunch of detached, uneducated and uninterested low life 'parents'

Anonymous said...

9:21 Punishing the parents with corruption of a minor will be far more effective than charging him with a "Hate Crime", whatever that is.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Ethnic intimidation is a penalty enhancer. You can still hate all you want and be just as bigoted as ever, but when you commit a crime against someone bc of his ethnic background or religion, the penalty is enhanced.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"There are other ways to punish this jackass. If he is a disruptive influence to other students in the school, then the Saucon Valley School District has established methods to expel him. He is sixteen years old."

That avenue may have been pursued but he should be charged criminally as well.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Under what Pennsylvania Statute is this juvenile being charged ? To me a "Hate Crime" = "Thought Crime""

In my view, there should be a "stupid" crime where dumb morons like you can be prosecuted. Ethnic intimidation is defined in 18 Pa.C.S. Section 2710 as follows:
(a) Offense defined.--A person commits the offense of ethnic intimidation if, with malicious intention toward the race, color, religion or national origin of another individual or group of individuals, he commits an offense under any other provision of this article or under Chapter 33 (relating to arson, criminal mischief and other property destruction) exclusive of section 3307 (relating to institutional vandalism) or under section 3503 (relating to criminal trespass) with respect to such individual or his or her property or with respect to one or more members of such group or to their property.
(b) Grading.--An offense under this section shall be classified as a misdemeanor of the third degree if the other offense is classified as a summary offense. Otherwise, an offense under this section shall be classified one degree higher in the classification specified in section 106 (relating to classes of offenses) than the classification of the other offense.
(c) Definition.--As used in this section "malicious intention" means the intention to commit any act, the commission of which is a necessary element of any offense referred to in subsection (a) motivated by hatred toward the race, color, religion or national origin of another individual or group of individuals.

Anonymous said...

He should have known you can only pick on people and harass them if you are a cop or if the person is ugly or liberal. Everything else is a crime

Anonymous said...

Morganelli hopes the charges filed here send the message that "this kind of conduct will not be tolerated. ..."

So now we charge people with crimes when they think badly and hurt someone else's feelings. .

george schaller said...

Bernie,
This is a very interesting topic of conversation, to wit say perhaps a collective team colludes to dillude and uses the main institution of life as REprecussions as there arena agenda designs like a circus carnival sideshow ACT?
The carnivals in our pocket add to this design to divert from dispositions never REcieved butt pulled from a participant ass!
REpublican redd
humanist by design

Bernie O'Hare said...

"So now we charge people with crimes when they think badly and hurt someone else's feelings. ."

No, people are charged when they commit another crime against a person because of his or her ethnic heritage. This is not complicated, nor is it any attempt to deter bigots from being bigots. It is an effort to deter criminal activity directed at persons because of their race, heritage or religion.

Anonymous said...

12:33 Affirmative action discrimination against whites however, is encouraged and lega.

Anonymous said...

George schaller is
REpublican redd
humanist by design?

I always enjoy his cyphers. For some of us at the right frequency it's just plain language.

Anonymous said...

Bernie:

Maybe I'm missing something here. This bigoted 14 year old made a Snapchat video making fun of this African American kid. He sent the video to his friends. Somehow the video got back to the 16 year old kid who kicked the hell out of the kid (I'd high five the 16 year old if I could).

I get that this "ethnic intimidation" deal is an enhancer as you call it, but where was the original "crime"? Did he send this to the 16 year old to intimidate him some how? To threaten or harass him? I mean, if you make a video and share it with your friends, and one of those numbskulls share it with any minority, how is that a crime "per se"?

I don't think anyone could possible defend the 14 year old. If this is what this kid is doing now, whether he's a member of a "redneck" group or not, it's not going to play well for his future. But I think some of the questions you are seeing on here isn't necessarily deserving of being called names. There's something that I'm missing and I'm sure others are as confused as I am.

Anonymous said...

3:05PM

Yup, I agree.

I think we're done here. Move-on with maximum effort devoted towards de-escalation.

Anonymous said...

I am quite pleased that the 16 year old student who was harassed gave the 14 year old a beating for it. This will fix the issue over charges that don't amount to much more than a juvenile record.

When I was in the Marine Corps one member of our group harassed another member constantly. One day the harassed issued a religious beat down to the harasser. Problem solved, no more harassment. The harassment was brutal and persistent until the beat down.

There are those who lack kindness and empathy for their fellow man, people who are just mean for the enjoyment of being mean. Those people earn beatings that serve as behavior modifiers.

LVCI said...

The pursuit of happiness is defined as a fundamental right mentioned in the Declaration of Independence to freely pursue joy and live life in a way that makes you happy, as long as you don't do anything illegal or violate the rights of others to the enjoy same measure. Yeah this sounds like a liberal BS idea to many these days but it's compeletly aligned with our orginal founders' beliefs back then. Freedom to express oneself crosses the line when it encourages others to join in making life miserbable for someone else. This action goes against what our nation's founders intended.

Bernie O'Hare said...

3:05, the cyber harassment is based on the use of social media to harass, annoy and alarm. That is precisely what happened. And let's be honest. What really bothers Morganelli's critics is that he stood up against racism. He actually rec'd death threats.

Anonymous said...

If someone hates blacks for being black they are prejudice not racist.

Only people with power over others can be racists.

Something tells me that if this kids dad had any sort of power or wore a funny hat he'd be in afterschool detention at most.

I think Morganelli is a good man and that his heart is in the right place, but his target here is just to small. If he wants to go after racism I'd encourage him to swing for the fences, this is a bunt.

Bernie O'Hare said...

So are you saying that affirmative action justifies ethnic intimidation, in which crimes are committed against 16 year-old kids bc of their race? If you think affirmative action is bad, say so. But that has nothing to do with ethnic intimidation.

Anonymous said...

Why is there only one black kid in this school?

What's the count on the teachers and staff?

How about the schoolboard members, many blacks there?

How many cops/fireman/roadcrew in that township are black?

Now blame a 14 year old? ya see? small, very very small...

Anonymous said...

If this was a lure to attract those who are dangerous, demonstrated by issuing death treats, so that THEY can be prosecuted...I'd call him Machiavelli not Morganelli.

alfonso todd said...

"I don't think anyone could possibly defend the 14 year old."

And yet there are many who are....


The more things change, the more they stay the same...





JoshLCowen said...

One doesn't have to 'defend' the 14 year old to criticize a DA who should be chasing down illegal aliens who are adding to the rot in his county. My friends, when someone breaks into my country...drops a few 'dreamers' on the taxpayers, drains our funds with education, medication, incarceration expenses....THAT is hate.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Josh if you follow the news you should know that John Morganelli more than any other district attorney in Pennsylvania is extremely tough one illegal aliens. But thanks for trying to change the subject

Anonymous said...

This is BS. The kid got a beat down for his actions. Schoolyard justice is how it was done for years before the PC police and thought police took over. Prank video's are done everyday.

So what we have is the non-violent actions of one person are the same as the violent physically assaulting actions of another. Something wrong with this picture. I don't agree with the DA''s actions but anyone who threatens him for doing what he feels is his job, is an ass. No one should be threatened like that, especially not a DA.

Maybe the kid 's main motive for beating the "redneck guy" was because the Redneck guy was white?

I guess it doesn't work that way. Maybe we will never know the entire story. And people wonder why Trump won.

Agent 99 said...

What we have here is a case of bullying. Maybe the 16 year old should not have attacked the younger boy who was part of the group who had been bullying him, but I consider the video to be the greater offense, as it was premeditated, and not just a reaction to someone else's deliberate provocation.

george schaller said...

Bernie,
3:00pm claims to understand my writting that many claim to not understand, it is some sort of criptic cross between spanglish, english and as you call it legalese? Sometimes I myself do not understand just maybe it also has some of the jailhouse mentality of the public as this article describes as a hate crime, because of the denagration and ignorance centered on the type of human condition that I and many suffer in some sort of variable different functioning states?
REpublican redd
humanist by design

Anonymous said...

@5:58pm: I live in Saucon Valley and know the families involved- and my sons know each boy involved quite well. The 14yo 'does' come from a very affluent family who hired a very high-priced, influential lawyer for his defense, yet the attorney has already stated that his client will accept the 'informal adjustment'.

I have commented extensively about this elsewhere; specifically about the prejudice that permeates our community- and has for quite a long time. However, in this situation, I will call out the 14yo's father as a provocateur; as I have observed so much inappropriate behavior from him over the years. I am no saint, and I hate throwing stones, but I do believe that a few trips to the therapist's office is in order for him...and I have said this about him WAY before the aforementioned situation that we are commenting about.

I have seen him at several sporting events, getting into near fisticuffs with other coaches, referees and other parents- to the point, at times, where security has had to intervene. He's been posting on social media about this and accepts no responsibility for his (or his son's) behavior, and calls those who disagree with him very horrible names.

Again, I have some personal insight into this and I could add lot more, but it seems that as far as this situation is concerned, the dust is settling, both kids have been offered consent decrees and I feel terrible that my beloved community is infiltrated with racism.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I figured that the 14 year-old learned about this from someone.

Anonymous said...

Yes, of course agent 99 is right.

Bullying one person using a group of perpetrators.

"Zersetzung"(German for weaponized bullying) in training.

When they get older they will be able to join adult clubs and hang out on the front porch until their masters turn them loose.

"Some people say" that when this kind of bulling matures it leads to mass shootings. So Morganelli is so right to be concerned about seeing it in it's infancy.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 9:29

I appreciate your testimony. Do you know if this man belongs to a group, gang or club, a fraternity or church, mosques or synagogue that may offer "substantial support" for this type of bullying/domestic terrorism.

Something LARGER that can be addressed by those with big sticks, while allowing those with little paddles to discipline the progenal detritus.

I agree this is learned, just like making IED's is learned, lets point the big guns at the source.

Anonymous said...

According to the esteemed Langenscheidt Standard Dictionary, the word "Zersetzung" has two potential meanings. The primary meaning is intended for a discussion involving chemicals and is listed as "decomposition". Langenscheidt also says that Zersetzung can be used as the equivalent of the word "Untergrabung", which means "undermining." Nothing as far as "weaponized bullying" is concerned, unfortunately.

JoshLCowen said...

Bernie, I have long been an admirer of the DA for his principled stance on illegal immigration....in direct opposition to his party. That's why I used the topic in my earlier post. That is what he should be focused on, not some dopey kid's hateful rant.
As an Italian-American myself I can only imagine the lawsuits I would have had if I whined every time someone used an ethnic slur in my direction.

Bernie O'Hare said...

If you think Morganelli has misplaced priorities, or think this is too trivial, get someone to run against him. The reality is that John Morganelli is doing his job, and in his view, thios is an area where a message needs to be sent.

Anonymous said...

@6:01PM
I can appreciate the effort you took avoiding the very first page when you google the term "Zerzetzung".

Of the 3,440,000 possible pages I could not find the esteemed Langenscheidt Standard Dictionary even going 10 pages deep.

The first page first link would be the most popular usage, Wikipedia...but you knew that didn't you comrade.

Anonymous said...

All involved need to behave better.
Neither party conformed to our society's views, legal or moral, of good behavior.
Creating decent citizens is what needs to be the goal for any "punishment" administered.