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State’s Attorney reviews Moline High School video investigation

Rock Island County State’s Attorney releases a statement regarding the investigation into the video
Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 9:16 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 13, 2021 at 12:42 AM CDT
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ROCK ISLAND CO., Illinois (KWQC) - Rock Island County State’s Attorney Dora Villarreal has reviewed the complete investigation involving an incident captured on video at Moline High School and shared numerous times on social media on Friday.

“The video depicted a young man who was confirmed to be a student and football player at Moline High School,” she said in a media release Monday. “Upon review of all the facts gathered by the Moline Police Department, numerous witness interviews and diligent investigation by the Moline Police Department and cooperation by students and staff, this Office has referred the matter for appropriate action in our Juvenile Division.”

Illinois law prohibits the public disclosure of any juvenile matters, regardless of the public’s interest or opinion, and “it remains this Office’s duty to carefully protect this information,” Villarreal said in the release.

“The criminal and civil laws of the County and State remain separate and apart from any established school guidelines, policies or discipline process.”

Villarreal said her office was asked to share the following statement made by the young man involved in the incident:

“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. 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.”

Villarreal urged the public to stop sharing the video on social media and respect the teenager’s privacy.

At a Moline-Coal Valley School Board meeting on Monday, Superintendent Dr. Rachel Savage spoke about the incident.

“While the police investigation is now complete, the school-based investigation is currently ongoing. I want to remind the community that these two processes are separate and different. I also want to remind everyone that the students involved in this behavior are minors and the details of student discipline are private and protected by federal law. While outcry over the incident understandably calls for answers and justice, few details of this school-based investigation can actually be revealed. This must not be misunderstood or mistaken for lack of action. While it is understood that the context of the behavior plays a vital role, that the students involved were all of color, that they are friends, and admitted to joking around, but it also highlights a greater calling from all of us, adults and students alike, to ensure we as a community and district are doing all we can to coach and guide our youth in a way that encourages respectful and accepting treatment of all in and out of the classroom, on and off the field, and inside and outside of our schools.”

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