A California football coach who is accused of using a noose gesture around a group of student athletes, one of whom was African American, reportedly won’t be punished for the incident.
According to a report from the San Jose Mercury News, the unidentified Santa Teresa teacher and coach has been admonished for the incident, but the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office declined to prosecute the incident because they felt it didn’t reach the level of a hate crime.
“Although this behavior did not meet the elements of a crime, it also did not meet the elements of how people should treat one another,” District Attorney Jeff Rosen told the media. “If someone’s ignorance crosses the line into criminality, my office will not hesitate to prosecute.”
As a reminder, here’s how the incident in question reportedly played out, per the Mercury News:
According to police, the teacher and recent assistant football coach, whose name has not been publicly released, was with student football players on campus April 30 when he took an exercise rope and put it around his own neck. The teacher, who is white, reportedly turned to the lone black student in the group, and said something to the effect of “stay away from me.”
While there is no sense that any potential punishment against the teacher would be revisited, at least one community organization is deeply upset that he will apparently get off scot free.
“The psychological intimidation of a minor should be a hate crime,” Rev. Reginald Swilley, co-chair of the Black Leadership Kitchen Cabinet, told the Mercury News. “The school system is supposed to nurture him and educate him.What we’re finding out is this type of issue is causing kids to feel like outsiders on their own school campus.”