Members of the Moline Police Department are investigating several an incident involving several members of the local high school football team. Video shows members of the football team shouting and threatening a Black player until he sits in a locker that is seemingly full of banana peels. One student can even be heard saying that he'll break the student's knees if he doesn't get in the locker.
Video of the violent encounter was shared online last Thursday and began circulating throughout the northwest Illinois community shortly thereafter. The team traveled to play an away game on Friday and arrived back at the school shortly after midnight. As they reached the school, members of the local police department were there to welcome them home. Moline Police Chief Darren Gault called the 11-second video a "disturbingly racist scene."
“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,” Gault added.
Members of the Moline-Coal Valley School District will also conduct an internal investigation of their own. School district spokeswoman Candace Sountris said that the incident had "no place" in their learning community.
“The vile behavior depicted in the video does not represent our core values and has no place in our learning community,” Sountris said.
“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.”
Adding to the internal investigation and criminal investigation, the town's mayor has also chimed in. Moline Mayor-elect Sangeetha Rayapati currently serves as the chair of the school board.
“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," Rayapati said.
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."
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