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Illinois High Schooler Charged With Hate Crime After Posting a ‘Slave for Sale’ Ad for Black Classmate

By Anne Branigin, The Root

Naperville, Ill., police have charged a 14-year-old boy with a hate crime after he allegedly posted a photo of a Black classmate on a Craigslist ad captioned, “slave for sale.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, the teen, who is white, was charged as a juvenile with two counts of committing a hate crime (a felony) and one count of disorderly conduct (a misdemeanor). From the Tribune:

The alleged incident began Thursday in the school lunchroom, Assistant State’s Attorney Lee Roupas told Judge Anthony Coco. The youth is alleged to have taken a photo of the student, also a 14-year-old male freshman, as they sat at the same lunch table. The youth then posted the photo on Craigslist with the caption “Slave for sale (Naperville)” along with other offensive language, Roupas said.

Officials say the ad also contained a racial slur.

The Craigslist ad, described by Naperville Chief of Police Robert Marshall as a “despicable and extremely offensive post,” has been taken down, according to ABC News. Harry Smith, the attorney for the boy accused of posting the ad, told the Tribune his client and the victim are “friends” that participate in the same school activity. The boy is currently serving an in-school suspension, and as of Tuesday afternoon, a meeting was scheduled with the school principal for the boy to formally apologize to the victim of the racist ad.

“Every single person deserves the right to feel safe and welcome in our community, and this department will continue to strive to make that a reality by thoroughly investigating any allegations of hate crimes and bringing those found responsible to justice,” Chief Marshall said this week.

“Hate crimes have no place in our society and will not be tolerated in DuPage County,” State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in a statement released Wednesday. “Anyone, regardless of age, accused of such disgraceful actions will be charged accordingly.”

But the town of Naperville has appeared in national news recently for another racist incident, in which a black family at a Buffalo Wild Wings was asked by restaurant staff to move tables because a white customer didn’t want to be seated next to Black people. The service manager and shift manager working at the time of the incident have since been fired. According to NBC News, Naperville’s population of about 143,000 is composed of 73 percent white people, and only 5 percent Black.

This article originally appeared in The Root.

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