COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (AP) — Five Florida middle schoolers are facing battery and hate crime charges after police said they attacked white students using racial taunts and slurs.
Coconut Creek police said four white children between the ages of 11 and 12-years-old were assaulted Wednesday by the group that yelled things like “it’s opposite day” and “brown power.”
The attacks happened at a community center where children gather before the first bell at Lyons Creek Middle School, according to police reports.
The charges filed were misdemeanors although the hate crime allegation could trigger a felony count depending on decisions by prosecutors. Coconut Creek is a suburb of Fort Lauderdale.
“We are disappointed to take law enforcement action in response to a racially-motivated crime by school-aged children within the City of Coconut Creek,” Coconut Creek Police Chief, Butch Arenal said in a Facebook post.
The department said it would work closely with school officials to “see that the suspects are appropriately dealt with, the victims receive appropriate services,” and that the incident would not manifest into further conflict.
“We will take appropriate action to ensure that all of our kids are safe before, during, and after school throughout Coconut Creek,” Arenal added.