An Illinois student is facing a hate crime charge after he placed a photo of a black classmate on Craigslist with the caption “slave for sale,” authorities said.
The 14-year-old suspect has not been identified because he’s a juvenile. He’s been charged with two counts of committing a hate crime and one count of disorderly conduct, Naperville’s police chief and the state’s attorney said Wednesday.
The student allegedly took a photo of the victim on November 14 at Naperville Central High School, which they both attend.
In the photo’s caption, he said the location for the sale is Naperville, a suburb of Chicago. An investigation determined the juvenile posted the ad along with additional unidentified offensive language, police said.
The suspect and the victim know each other
The suspect allegedly took the photo in the school’s lunchroom when they both sat at the same table, the Chicago Tribune reported. It said the suspect is white and the victim is also 14.
The suspect and the victim were teammates on the school’s wrestling team, CNN affiliate WLS reported.
“The allegations against the juvenile in this case are beyond disturbing,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin said. “Hate crimes have no place in our society and will not be tolerated in DuPage County. Anyone, regardless of age, accused of such disgraceful actions will be charged accordingly.”
Naperville Police Chief Robert Marshall described the incident as despicable and offensive.
“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.”
Latest racist incident in Naperville within weeks
In an interview with CNN affiliate WGN, the victim’s mother said the two were once friends but the suspect started making derogatory comments.
“The moment he started teasing my son, calling him dumb, making fun of his skin color, saying ‘shut up slave’ last October, they are not friends anymore,” she said.
Just last month, Naperville made national news after workers at a local Buffalo Wild Wings were fired for asking a group of mostly African-American people to change tables because of their skin color. The family said a host told them to move to another table because one of the restaurant’s regular customers does not want black people sitting near him.
The police chief said the incidents are not related.
The suspect appeared in juvenile court Wednesday, and his next court appearance is December 18.
Naperville is about 35 miles from Chicago.