Naperville reacts after high school student charged with hate crime for Craigslist post

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NAPERVILLE, Ill. — A teenager accused of placing a racist ad on Craigslist offering for sale an African American student has been charged.

According to the DuPage County State's Attorney, the Naperville Central High School student is charged with two counts of felony hate crime and one count of misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

According to authorities, the teen took a photograph of the victim on Nov. 14 while at school. He then posted an ad on Craigslist with the photo and a caption that read, “Slave for sale (Naperville)" followed by an offensive racial slur.

WGN News spoke with the alleged victim’s mother.

“They used to be friends, they are not anymore. The moment he started teasing my son, calling him dumb, making fun of his skin color, saying ‘shut up slave’ last October,” the mother said. “They are not friends anymore."

The Naperville Police Department conducted an investigation into the matter as soon as they became aware of the incident. The investigation led to the teen as the person who allegedly posted the ad.

“The allegations against the juvenile in this case are beyond disturbing,” DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin said. “Hate crimes have no place in our society and will not be tolerated in DuPage County. Anyone, regardless of age, accused of such disgraceful actions will be charged accordingly."

"This was a despicable and extremely offensive post that is not at all reflective of the caring, welcoming community that our department serves and protects every day," Naperville Police Chief Robert Marshall said. "Every single person deserves the right to feel safe and welcome in our community, and this department will continue to strive to make that a reality by thoroughly investigating any allegations of hate crimes and bringing those found responsible to justice. I would like to express my appreciation to our school resource officer and supervisor who conducted a timely, thorough, detailed investigation.”

The charges were top of mind at a resident meeting Wednesday night in Naperville.

I was upset about it, I was angry,” said Naperville councilman Benny White. "We need to talk about and not sweep it up under the rug."

Representatives from NAACP were at the high school Wednesday to speak with officials.

A Naperville resident who drives students to Naperville Central said it goes back to parenting.

“It needs to be installed in their children, that they should not believe in racism,” Bobby Billups said. “Racism, to me, it’s like the devil.”

The ad follows a racist incident last month at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Naperville. Naperville Police Chief Robert Marshall said the incidents are isolated.

The teen's next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 18.

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