Modesto police are investigating a possible hate crime after a Snapchat video surfaced showing a white student with a noose around his neck making a threat toward an African-American student while firing off a gun.
The video starts by showing a white student at Central Catholic High School in a camouflage jacket holding a rope over his head, shouting a slur. The next quick clip shows a gun case opening to show a rifle inside. Then, someone fires off a gun.
In the clip, the white student yells the first, middle and last name of the African-American student. Sacramento NBC affiliate KCRA obtained the video and edited the faces and also the names of both students so as not to disclose their identities.
The African-American student's mother spoke to KCRA.
“I heard 'You must die (profanity),'” Tanya Porter said in the interview, repeating what her son heard on the video.
“I knew I had to do something because that was a threat and then with the noose and the gun, it all just tied together," she said.
Porter first learned of the video while coming back to her car from a convenience store to find her son sitting inside the car with a strange look on his face.
"He said, 'Mom you have to look at this,' and when I saw the video, I was appalled," Porter told KCRA. "Just the history of how many people have hung from a tree with a noose around their neck . . . that's associated with death."
She reported the video to Central Catholic on March 25, then sent them a copy of it April 6.
On April 7, she reported the video to Modesto police. The department told KCRA it is now investigating it as a hate crime.
In a statement to KCRA, Central Catholic’s President Jim Pecchenino wrote, “We have received what we believe is a copy of the video and are currently investigating the facts related to it. Our students and families are our top priority and I can assure you we will take whatever steps we deem necessary to continue to insure their safety.”
However, Porter said the student in the video is still in school and remains undisciplined.
She told KCRA she fears the student may be mentally unstable and is a risk to her son and other students.