Five Florida middle school students face hate crime charges after attacking four students on Wednesday.
According to the NBC affiliate in Miramar, the juveniles yelled “It’s Opposite Day!” and “Brown Power!” as they attacked white classmates at the Coconut Creek Recreation Complex. The attackers were not named but were identified as being in grades six through eight.
Four victims were reported being beaten.
In one incident, the group told a victim, “You are white,” and tackled him and began beating him with hands, feet, and phone chargers.
Another victim reported being hit with a stick, and then he, too, was tackled and attacked with hands, feet, and phone charger cords.
One victim told a television news crew that the thugs hit and kicked him, and indicated they went after him because he is white.
“After they jumped me, they said, this is, like, revenge for what they did in the 1700s for slavery,” he said.
In arrest reports, Coconut Creek police noted the victims were “racially profiled.” The beatings reportedly took place on Wednesday.
The attackers face third-degree felony battery charges because they selected the victims “with prejudice.”
According to reports the suspects were ages 11 to 15, and described as black and white with Hispanic surnames. The victims were 11 and 12.
The rec center is next to Lyons Creek Middle School. But school officials say they cannot punish the attackers because the beatings occurred off-campus.
None of the victims reported serious injuries.
In a Facebook post, Coconut Creek police Chief Butch Arenal said, “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. This is an extremely rare occurrence in our community. But these are children, and as such, poor judgment can occur.”
“As always, we will work closely with our school officials to see that the suspects are appropriately dealt with, the victims receive appropriate services, and that the incident doesn’t manifest into further conflict. Finally, we will take appropriate action to ensure that all of our kids are safe before, during, and after school throughout Coconut Creek.”