Experts speak out after disturbing, racist video of Short Pump students

Published: Oct. 20, 2017 at 3:29 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 21, 2017 at 5:46 PM EDT
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HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Henrico Police confirmed they are now investigating an inappropriate video of Short Pump middle school football players simulating sex acts over racist rants in the locker room, to determine whether any charges should be filed. Now several community groups are speaking out in response.

Mental health advocates are calling for the children involved to get help for the trauma an event like this can cause. Some community groups are calling for the feds to step in.

NBC 12 has chosen not to re-air the shocking video that has so many of you talking.

"What we will be doing is filing a federal complaint with the office of civil rights," said Lorraine Wright with the "I Vote for Me" human rights group.

She is reacting to graphic images posted on Snapchat. Short Pump middle school football players simulating sex in the locker room as Black students are pinned to the ground with other students on top of them. The students yelled racist remarks and messages were posted over the video, including "We're going to (expletive) the Black outta these African children from Uganda."

"Clearly, the intent was to dehumanize the boy of color, and that's something we can't sweep under the rug and mischaracterize as 'offensive and wrong' because it was way beyond that," Wright added.

"This should have been shared. The community needs to be aware of what's happening in our schools with our children," Dr. Marla Crawford with Advocates for Equity in Schools added.

"I'm very concerned about his mental status and his well-being," a parent said whose son was featured in the video.

Experts say that's a good reason to be concerned.

"Some people are going to be dealing with shame. Some people are going to be dealing with guilt. Some folks are going to be dealing with powerlessness, helplessness," said Bob Nickles of Child Savers.

He believes children affected by or exposed to trauma could benefit from counseling.

"It's not as if something didn't happen, it's whatever happened I was able to absorb and grow and learn from that," he said.

This as the community demands accountability.

"To say that this act was 'offensive and wrong,' it went way past offensive and wrong. This is criminal," Wright said.

Now, Henrico Police are investigating to determine whether they agree.

"I see hate crimes because of the language that's used. I see sexual assault…They need to involve the federal level personnel because a hate crime is federal," Dr. Crawford added.

Denisha Potts, Vice President and Interim Education Chair for the Chesterfield Branch NAACP, released the following statement:

The school district has an obligation to protect the lives of other innocent students by detaining the criminals displayed in the video. Protecting them will only send a message of permitting them to do it again. This culture of dismissive attitudes regarding abuse toward black and brown children of color must stop.

It is my expectation that the students involved in this hateful act will face criminal charges appropriate to state and federal law. This blatant act of misconduct should not be tolerated in any of our school districts. These students should be suspended immediately until further notice pending a full extensive investigation.

Henrico Schools says it is aware of the video and is taking action.

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