The President of the NAACP in Mississippi, Derrick Johnson, is speaking out on behalf of a black high school football player who was allegedly the victim of a hate crime a few weeks ago. According to the parents of the student, Mr. and Mrs. Payton, their son was attacked by a group of as many as four other students (some teammates of his) who threw a noose around his neck. Mr. Johnson and the community around him demand a federal hate crime investigation.
On October 13, a black sophomore at Stone High School in Mississippi was assaulted and accosted by multiple students near the locker room. He and his parents claim that a group of white boys threw a lasso around him.
After the incident, the victim’s parents tried to handle the situation via school officials, who they say have botched things entirely. The NAACP has said no one has been punished and no one has been charged with a crime.
The football coach, though, named John Feaster, has publicly stated that he kicked at least one of the accused off of the football team this Monday. Additionally, that player was suspended for last Friday’s game. Coach Feaster said that despite some rumors, the player who stands accused of the attack was not a prominent member of the team.
“It’s sad, there aren’t any winners or losers,” said Feaster, who paused to pray before talking. “It just kicks up a lot of the past.”
He said he feels “terrible” for the victim, “a tough kid who’s hanging in there.”
“He knows I love him and his teammates love him and the coaching staff loves him and he isn’t going to be treated any differently. He’s one of my favorite kids on this team [source].”
According to school rules, any student who assaults another student will be expelled immediately.
Who Was Involved?
There are no names being used at this time, considering the serious matter of the alleged offenses and the fact that these students are all minors. What Mr. Johnson did mention at his press conference on Monday, though, is that the alarming nature of the accusation is only made more serious by the fact that these suspects were seen earlier in the year with Confederate flags on their trucks.
Even more upsetting is that when Mr. and Mrs. Payton tried to file charges against the young men responsible, the police department urged them not to press charges because one of the young men was the son of a retired law enforcement officer.