Two 17-year-old boys have been arrested after allegedly using racial slurs and urinating on a group of four middle-school girls at a Lawrence High School football game Friday night, police say.
The boys, who the Lawrence Township police say are of Indian descent and live in the township, have been charged with harassment, bias intimidation, and lewdness in connection with the incident. At a news conference Tuesday, police said there is potential for additional criminal charges against other subjects at a later time.
The juveniles, who were not identified because of their age, were released to their parents after processing. The four victims are African American middle-school girls, according to a Facebook post that prompted the investigation, but police declined to confirm their age.
Police are investigating the incident and did not elaborate on the slurs used. All of the students involved attend Lawrence Township public schools.
Videos posted on Facebook show dozens of students at the top of the bleachers yelling at a group of black students below. The video shows two students yelling the N-word and telling the black students they would kill them.
The school district is also investigating the incident.
“Rumors and misinformation, such as students from another district being involved, are hindering the investigation process. In partnership with the police department, we need to be able to do our work to get to facts of the matter,” Superintendent Ross Kasun said in a statement posted on Facebook. Kasun could not be reached for additional comment Monday.
Christopher Bobbitt, mayor of Lawrence Township, which is slightly north of Trenton, said in a Facebook post Saturday that “hate has no home in Lawrence Township." The Mercer County town of about 33,200 people is 62% white, 12% black, and 16% Asian, according to 2017 data.
Darren Green, a family friend of one of the middle-school girls involved, said that the girl’s mother was traumatized by what happened to her daughter, who was not urinated on but was with the group being yelled at and threatened below the bleachers.
“When scenarios unfold, how and what we do to handle them, speaks volumes on the message that is sent,” said Green, 50, who lives and works in Trenton as the security manager of the city’s Housing Authority. “This has a powerful opportunity to touch a lot of communities if they handle it correctly. The school has to have forums where this conversation occurs. We have to stop acting uncomfortable with the reality that’s in the room. Racism is at the fabric of America.”