A 16-year-old boy who police said made an announcement at Walmart ordering all black people in the southern New Jersey store to leave was charged with harassment and bias intimidation, authorities said Saturday.
The boy, whose name is not being released because he is a juvenile, grabbed one of the courtesy phones at Walmart’s Washington Township store Sunday evening and calmly announced: “Attention, Walmart customers: All black people, leave the store now,” police said.
The teen was arrested Friday and released to the custody of his parents; police did not know whether he had a lawyer.
“This was an extremely disturbing event on many levels,” Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton said at a . “Any statements like these that can cause harm or grave concern must be addressed as quickly we possibly can.”
Dalton said the case would be handled in juvenile court in neighboring Atlantic County, where the boy lives. He would not say whether the boy has a criminal record, citing the teen’s age, and would not disclose the teen’s race, saying that did not factor into the investigation.
The 16-year-old has been charged with harassment and bias intimidation.