3 Allen High students charged with harassment, ethnic intimidation
Updated On: May 02 2014 05:20:16 AM CDT
Three Allen High School students have been charged with harassment and ethnic intimidation as a result of a bullying incident on April 24 in the school.
The charges were announced Thursday afternoon by Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin, who announced the students used racial slurs when bullying three white victims in the cafeteria of the west Allentown school.
The three male defendants – two are 15 years-old and a third is 14 – have been charged with harassment, a summary offense, and ethnic intimidation, a third-degree misdemeanor.
"I feel that it's certainly worthy of prosecution to the extent that we're prosecuting it," Martin told 69 News.
Authorities are not identifying the defendants, nor the victims because of their ages.
An affidavit of probable cause for arrest says on April 25, an Allentown police detective in the youth division responded to the high school because of a report of harassment.
The detective interviewed all parties involved in the incident and watched a video that had been posted to the Facebook page of one of the defendants.
At about 1 p.m. on April 24, three students were sitting at a table in the school’s cafeteria.
Two of them were playing cards.
They were approached by the three defendants.
One of them sat at the table while the two others stood next to it.
The defendants started making comments about the boys at the table, used profanities and made remarks about “their race, stature and appearance, such as the glasses they were wearing.”
They used the racial slur “pink” in referring to the white victims, according to the affidavit.
One of them asked to see a cell phone that one of the victims was holding.
The victim gave him the phone, then asked if he was going to get it back.
The teen started to hand the phone back to the victim when another defendant grabbed the phone and said he was not going to give it back.
The young man who took the phone ran to an adjacent area, and the victim again asked if he was going to get it back.
After a few minutes, the phone was returned.
Two of the defendants then decided to make a “smack cam video” and selected the three victims, in part, because they were white.
One of them used his cell phone to record subsequent events and self-narrated what he called “Smack Cam Three.”
A security officer passed the location, and one of the defendants remarked that he didn’t care, using profanity, and said one of the victims was “gonna get mopped.”
Another defendant then walked over to one of the victims and slapped him on the back of the head.
The other two defendants started laughing.
The victim turned around briefly and then resumed playing cards.
One of the three defendants then walked up behind the victim and started playing with his hair.
Two of the defendants asked two of the victims if they could use their phones.
One of the victims said his phone battery was dead, and another said that he was on a minute plan.
One of the defendants sat at the table with the victims, while another made comments about one of the victims, used profanity and called the victim names.
That teen then took close ups of the three boys at the table and concluded the video by saying, “That was a Smack Cam Three. All right, we done.”
Allentown School Board Member David Zimmerman said his son is one of the victims.
Martin said, "That had no bearing in either the police investigation or the decision that I made to prosecute this case. We would have prosecuted this case no matter what his lineage would have been."
"It's an unfortunate incident. It was clearly, as far as I was concerned, a bullying incident," said Martin.
Martin said those charged are not likely to be detained and that the cases will be heard by a juvenile master in Lehigh County.
He said, "The aim of juvenile court is rehabilitation, so hopefully they will learn a lesson from this that you can't go around bullying your fellow students."
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