Washington Township police arrested a 16-year-old boy and charged him with harassment and bias intimidation for allegedly getting on an intercom at the Turnersville Wal-Mart and announcing that all African American customers should leave the store.
At a noon press conference today outside the Washington Township Police Department, Police Chief Rafael Muniz and Prosecutor Sean Dalton declined to identify the boy, but said he was from Atlantic County.
Authorities are trying to determine if another 16-year-old with him also was involved in the incident.
The boy was arrested Friday and remains in his parents' custody.
Last Sunday at around 7 p.m., someone at the Wal-Mart announced "Attention, Wal-Mart shoppers: Will all the black people please leave the store. Thank you."
Witnesses said store officials took about 5 minutes before announcing that the statement was a prank and apologizing.
Leaders of the Gloucester County NAACP said today that there have been similar, previous incidents at the same Wal-Mart.
In a statement on their website posted Friday, Wal-Mart said it was "appalled by this incident" and apologized to customers.
A Wal-Mart spokesperson did not return a call by deadline today.
Contact staff writer Cynthia Burton at 856-779-3858 or email@example.com.