Online post mocking Floyd death prompts outrage

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COOPERSVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — A social media post in which two boys mimicked and belittled the death of George Floyd has prompted disgust by fellow students and investigation by Coopersville High School and authorities.

The Snapchat story shows one boy kneeling on the neck of another in a scene seemingly meant to recreate the May 25 incident in which a Minneapolis police officer pinned Floyd before his death. The death has prompted a national cry for police reform and racial equity and led to murder charges.

“When I saw it, I actually got sick to my stomach, I think that’s disgusting,” Coopersville High School junior Jayden Hill said. “First of all, they were mocking the death of an innocent man.”

It was the clumsily-written hashtag that has only inflamed the outrage.

“The caption which says #georgfloydlivesdontmatter it kind of represents black lives don’t matter,” Hill said.

A blurred screenshot from a Snapchat post by a Coopersville High School student mocking the death of George Floyd.

Other students shared the same reaction.

“I was disgusted. I was really sad. I didn’t think someone would do that, especially from Coopersville,” said Mia Walker-Quintana, also Coopersville junior.

Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office personnel were at the school Wednesday looking into the incident. They and Principal Brent Hadden would say nothing about the case other than it is being investigated.

“We really want this school to acknowledge that this is huge problem,” said Hill, adding that she would like to see the two boys in the video held accountable and wants the school to educate students and staff when it comes to race and diversity.

Hill said she has attended school with both the boys.

“It kind of didn’t surprise me because of the way they sometimes act, but it still was horrible,” she said.

News 8 is not naming the boys because they have not been charged. No one answered the door at one of the boy’s home when News 8 went there Wednesday seeking comment.

Hill, who has attended Coopersville schools since pre-kindergarten, offered this analysis:

“Coopersville High School has a sort of covert racism that may allow for these kids to get away with this type of behavior, which I believe they shouldn’t,” said Hill, who believes police should treat this as a hate crime. “I would not feel OK and I would not have to tolerate going to school with these types of people.”

Coopersville Area Public Schools released this statement Thursday:

“Coopersville Area Public Schools (CAPS) has become aware of allegations involving two
individuals from within the community. The District will cooperate fully with law enforcement
as they investigate these allegations. At this time, there is no indication that the allegations
directly involve the District or its personnel. As a matter of policy, CAPS does not comment on
criminal investigations. Please refer all questions regarding this investigation to the Ottawa
County Sheriff’s Office.

“Coopersville Area Public Schools is committed to working for positive social change within our
community. We inspire all students to embrace a life-long love of learning, to achieve their
goals and to be compassionate citizens who contribute to the global community. We believe
compassion applies to every community member regardless of their age, race, gender or
religious beliefs.

“We stand against all forms of racism and are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, both
in policy and in practice. When racism occurs in any form on our school campus or within the
District’s educational or extracurricular programs or activities, we immediately take action to
investigate and hold students and staff members accountable for behaviors inconsistent with
our values or policies.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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