Investigation looking into racist video involving Moline High School football players completed
MOLINE, Ill. (KWQC) - Moline Police say the investigation regarding the “shocking viral video” that depicts a “disturbing racist scene” involving football players for Moline High School has been completed as of 6 p.m. Saturday and turned over to the Rock Island County State’s Attorney Dora Villarreal for review.
Officials say they interviewed the victim and his classmates late Friday night. “The students directly involved in the video are all friends. Regardless of these facts, we all agree that this is a disgusting way to treat a fellow teammate, a fellow human, and most certainly a friend,” writes Chief Gault.
The school district will be conducting a separate investigation to see if any school codes have been violated which are different than criminal law, “some terms such as hazing have different meaning in state law and school code of conduct.”
“This is a teaching moment for everyone and a reminder that we can do better. We can treat people better. We can be better friends. We can be better teammates. We can be better people. We can also stand up and confront situations when they are wrong. In doing so we can raise our morals and increase the respect we have for each other.”
An 11-second video that is circulating on social media shows a Black football player being pressured into a locker with bananas hanging in it. You can then hear another student point and yell “get in the chair or I’ll break your knees,” at which point the football player sits inside the locker and appears to be uncomfortable. Moline Police said they became aware of the viral video Friday evening.
“The Moline-Coal Valley School District was notified Friday evening of a disturbing and distressing video involving a Moline High School football player.
The district is cooperating fully with law enforcement and will ensure a thorough investigation is completed.
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. Student safety and a welcoming environment remain the top priority for all Moline-Coal Valley Schools.”
The Moline Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Division immediately began an investigation on the video and surrounding circumstances. At the time the video was discovered, the football team was out of town for a game.
When the team returned to the school around 11:20 p.m. Friday, they were met by detectives. Police said they’ve located the victim and are gathering more information.
A statement issued by Moline Chief of Police Darren Gault said in part, “We are aware that the victim knows the individuals who filmed the incidents. We are aware they are teammates and may be friends. Regardless of these facts, the incident is disturbing.”
Police went on to say the incident is being investigated separately from the school district. The criminal investigation is being done by the police department and all the facts will be presented to Rock Island County’s State’s Attorney. Police said their role in the incident is to determine if there was a criminal violation related to law. The school will determine if any school rules may have been violated.
Sangeetha Rayapati, outgoing President of the Moline-Coal Valley School Board and Mayor-Elect of Moline says she is “frustrated, dismayed, and appalled—among many other emotions” by the actions involving the football team. As a leader, she says she has a responsibility to hold individuals accountable. “No one has a right to dehumanize their classmate or teammate,” she adds.
“It’s awful to know a child was treated that way. It’s awful to know that that child will be marked forever by the incident and the disrespect they received. And it’s awful to know other children would see this as a joke,” says Rayapati.
An investigation into the incident and the students involved will be conducted by the school and the police department.
The Moline Police Department says if you have any information about this incident call (309)-524-2140 (Investigations Division) or call Crime Stoppers of the Quad Cities at (309)-762-9500.
TV6 is not showing the video due to there being a minor involved.
Read Rayapati’s full statement below:
“As out-going President of the Moline-Coal Valley School Board and Mayor-Elect of Moline, I want to address the incident many in our community observed online Friday night, involving members of our high school football team. As a human, I’m frustrated, dismayed, and appalled—among many other emotions. As a community leader and elected official, I know I, myself and fellow leaders have a responsibility to hold individuals involved in this incident accountable and intend to do just that.
We must choose wisely, how we treat each other. We must choose kindness, understanding and respect, and we have a duty as parents, role models and leaders to model this respect to each other each and every day. We must hold ourselves accountable for this incident occurring in our community and educate our children that this behavior is unacceptable. Because these are all of our children--those who have done egregious things and those who have had a terrible thing done to them. No one has a right to dehumanize their classmate or teammate.
I am a person of color. I know what it means to be the only person in the room like yourself. I know what it means to be misunderstood. Our children deserve, especially in a school or school activity, to be understood and treated with respect and our entire community needs to be there for that. Our entire community has a responsibility to decide what behavior we will not accept.
I speak from the heart when I say we have a responsibility to teach them a better way. It’s awful to know a child was treated that way. It’s awful to know that that child will be marked forever by the incident and the disrespect they received. And it’s awful to know other children would see this as a joke.
We must let investigations take place according to appropriate protocols to address this behavior, but we can turn toward our neighbors, and show them the good that is in all of us. We can find ways to reassure our children that they don’t have to fear this kind of treatment in Moline. There is no place for hate in Moline, and it is my mission to continue to make Moline a welcoming place for ALL—no matter your age, background, or color of your skin.”
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