6 Massachusetts teens charged in racial bullying incident with mock slave auction on Snapchat

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Six juveniles successful Massachusetts were charged successful a group online bullying incident that progressive "heinous" language, threats of "violence toward group of color" and a mock enslaved auction, nan territory lawyer for Hampden County said.

Students from Southwick, astir 104 miles southwest of Boston, allegedly participated successful a "hateful, racist online" Snapchat chat betwixt Feb. 8 and Feb. 9, Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said successful a statement connected Facebook.

Gulluni said he became alert of nan incident connected Feb. 15 and instantly called connected nan Massachusetts State Police Detective Unit to investigate.

On Thursday, astatine nan conclusion of nan investigation, nan territory lawyer authorized members of nan Detective Unit and nan Chief of nan Juvenile Court Unit to prosecute criminal charges against nan juveniles.

All six were charged pinch threat to perpetrate a crime, nan territory lawyer said. Two of those juveniles were besides charged pinch interference pinch civilian rights, and 1 of nan 2 was additionally charged pinch witnesser interference.

"Hatred and racism person nary spot successful this community. And wherever this behaviour becomes criminal, I will guarantee that we act, and enactment pinch swift resolve, arsenic we did here, to uncover it and bring it to nan ray of justice," Gulluni said. "There is nary mobility that nan alleged behaviour of these six juveniles is vile, cruel, and contemptible."

Gulluni said he has met personally pinch nan victims and their families. 

"As I person described, done nan activity of my office’s investigators, and nan activity successful tribunal yet to come, we intend to appropriately punish those whose alleged behaviour displayed a capacity for specified hatred and cruelty and, ultimately, amounted to chargeable criminal conduct," he said.

The chat was created by a group of 8th-grade students from Southwick Regional School, Gulluni said. The chat progressive immoderate of nan juveniles expressing "hateful and racist comments, including notions of unit toward group of color, group slurs, derogatory pictures and videos, and a mock enslaved auction directed astatine 2 peculiar juveniles," he said.

On Feb. 9, nan beingness of nan chat and immoderate of its connection was reported to schoolhouse authorities.

Several students involved, including nan six who were charged, were suspended arsenic an emergency removal, per authorities law, connected Feb. 12, according to nan territory attorney. Three days later, respective students were formally suspended including 2 for 25 days and 1 for 45 days, he said.

The schoolhouse territory did not instantly respond to a petition for remark connected Thursday.

The territory lawyer initiated forward-looking steps to "prevent early harm, promote empathy, and build stronger communities free of hate."

They see a program astir dislike and bullying being delivered to nan Southwick schoolhouse organization and a business pinch nan lawyer general's agency to create a programme that addresses and remediates nan harmful forces of bigotry, racism, and bullying successful schools.

Minyvonne Burke

Minyvonne Burke is a elder breaking news newsman for NBC News.