A 17-Year-Old Has Been Arrested After An Online Racist Threat Shut Down All Charlottesville Schools For Two Days In A Row
A 4chan user reportedly threatened to carry out an "ethnic cleansing" at Charlottesville High School in Virginia.
A 17-year-old was arrested in connection with an online racist threat that prompted all schools in Charlottesville, Virginia, to be closed on Thursday and Friday.
The Charlottesville Police Department on Wednesday received an email from a concerned citizen about a possible threat made against Charlottesville High School. The racist threat was targeted at specific ethnic groups at the school, police said.
The unidentified teen has been charged with threats to commit serious bodily harm and harassment by computer.
Authorities could not provide more information on the suspect as he was charged as a juvenile. He was arrested in Albemarle County.
The suspect identifies as Portuguese and is not a Charlottesville High School student, as he claimed in his threatening post, police said Friday.
The threat surfaced less than two years after violence erupted in Charlottesville during a white supremacist rally. During the chaos, a white supremacist ran over and killed 32-year-old counterprotester Heather Heyer.
Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall M. Brackney said that hate, violence, and intolerance are "not welcomed in Charlottesville."
"We stand firmly in saying there are not very fine people on both sides of this issue," Brackney said, referring to President Trump's infamous comment after the violence in Charlottesville, where he defended white nationalists by saying there were "some very fine people on both sides."
All city schools were closed for two days as a precautionary measure, keeping more than 4,300 students out of classrooms. Schools will be open on Monday, authorities said.
Brackney acknowledged that the shutting of schools caused "some inconveniences" but added that the "the safety of our students and staff was the top priority for the department, the city, and the school district."
In a message to school staff and families on Thursday evening, Rosa Atkins, the superintendent of Charlottesville City Schools, said that based on conversations with law enforcement all schools would remain closed on Friday as state and federal authorities investigated the threat.
"We would like to acknowledge and condemn the fact that this threat was racially charged. We do not tolerate hate or racism," Atkins said.
"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. We are in this together, and a threat against one is a threat against all," she said.
"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 on Friday.
The threat was reportedly posted by a 4chan user claiming to be a Charlottesville High School student. The user threatened to carry out an "ethnic cleansing" at the school on Thursday and urged all the white students at the school to stay home.
4chan — an anonymous message board and alt-right hub — was among the websites blocked by New Zealand and Australia's internet service providers earlier this week for continuing to host footage of the Christchurch mosque shootings.