The president of the NAACP’s Mississippi chapter (pictured above) is calling for federal hate crime charges to be filled against four white high school football players who allegedly placed a noose around a black teammate’s neck.
“No child should be walking down the hall or in a locker room and be accosted with a noose around their neck,” Derrick Johnson, the Mississippi NAACP president said Monday (Oct. 24). “This is 2016, not 1916. This is America. This is a place where children should go to school and feel safe in their environment.”
According to the Washington Post, the incident took place Oct. 13 near a locker room at Stone High in Wiggins, Mississippi. The team’s head coach John Feaster told ESPN that despite original reports of the attack including four students, one student was the main culprit and has since been removed from the team.
“The individual that was responsible hasn’t been with our team since the incident,” Feaster said. “I just want it understood. It could have been the biggest superstar and he would have been gone. I don’t care who it is — if you do something like that, you can’t be part of our team.”
The victim’s parents, Hollis and Stacey Payton, joined Johnson during a press conference. Although they declined to comment, a spokesman for the civil rights organization said the student returned to practice afterwards.
Johnson said the victim wasn’t physically hurt, but was “terrified,” and went onto say that 20 students were interviewed following the incident. Stone County Superintendent Inita Owen added that the school is also taking proper procedures to rectify the situation.
“I will not comment on this matter at this time, nor will I address a matter of student discipline in the press. I can assure everyone that the Stone County School District takes all matters involving students very seriously and will do everything within its power to make sure that all policies and procedures were adhered to and that all of its students have a safe place to receive an education.”