A video of a black high school football player being forced to sit inside a locker filled with banana peels has gone viral on social media. Following a statement issued by the victim, the State's Attorney Office has moved the case to its Juvenile Division after the reviewal of the video.
The Moline-Coal Valley School District claimed that would be conducting an investigation to check whether any school code violations or violations of district polices have taken place. "The vile behavior depicted in the video does not represent our core values and has no place in our learning community. Clearly, we have work to do. Decisive action will be taken upon the conclusion of both the law enforcement and the school district's internal investigation," school district spokeswoman Candace Sountris said in a statement.
Victim Was Threatened by Teammates
The Chicago Sun Times reported that the video was shot on Thursday. It was shared on social media the next day following which it became viral. The 11- second video from Moline High School shows a student threatening the Black player to sit on a chair placed inside a locked filled with banana peels. "I'll break both your knees," he threatens the victim forcing him to unwillingly take the seat. After the victim sits down, his team mates can be heard shouting, "Yeah!" The victim is seen very uncomfortable while being forced to sit inside the locker.
Terming the incident as a "disturbing racist scene", Moline Police Chief Darren Gault said that the detectives interviewed student athletes, coaches and staff members over the weekend and turned their findings over to prosecutors.
Claiming that the investigation would determine if those involved were teammates "of both different and similar races to the victim," Gault said: "Regardless of these facts, we all agree that this is a disgusting way to treat a fellow teammate, a fellow human being and most certainly a friend."
"Treat Me As a Human First, Not a Victim"
In a statement issued through the state's attorney's office, the teen has appealed to be treated as a human first and not a victim.
QC Online reported that in the statement, the teen said that he was fine. "I want to make it known that I'm fine. Everyone is worried about me and showing concern for me and I really appreciate it. Second, can everyone please stop talking about the incident and video? I understand everyone wants justice for me and they want what they think is right to be done, but I already made my feelings known to the police and my friends about how I feel about everything," he said.
"I love the football team I'm on and they're good guys. I know that personally. I talked to the people involved individually and they apologized. We had a heartfelt talk about it and I told them how I felt. So please don't harass, bully, or threaten them at all. Lastly, I want to get my life back together, and my student-athlete life back on track, so if you do ever see me or know who I am, treat me as a human first, not a victim," added the teen further.