Vile, racist video urging black student to kill herself convulses suburban Twin Cities school district
Police, school district investigate incident, which could result in charges
SAVAGE, Minn. (WKBT) — Nerves are raw in a suburban Twin Cities school district over a racially charged viral video in which a high school student berated a black freshman with incredibly vile language and urged her to kill herself.
Prior Lake-Savage Area Schools and Savage police are investigating the incident, which became public last week. The video includes liberal and extended use of the “N” and “F” words while the girl in the video laughs uproariously as she derides her target.
In the one-minute video, the taunter tells the girl, who has battled mental health issues and attempted to kill herself, to “kill yourself right this time,” cut deeper or hang a rope higher.
It is illegal in Minnesota to urge someone to commit suicide.
Savage Police Chief Rodney Seurer confirmed that his department is investigating the incident.
“This is not tolerated here,” Seurer told reporters at a news conference Thursday. “It’s still early on in the investigation, so (I) really can’t comment on what possible charges.
“We’re looking at all aspects — wherever our investigation will take us,” Seurer said.
Activist Shaun King posted the video on his Instagram page, along with the message: “Young nasty racist Karens soon become grown nasty racist Karens.”
The target of the video is 14-year-old Nya Sigin, a freshman at Prior Lake High School who told CNN, “I really couldn’t comprehend what I was listening to. It was really just a wave of different emotions. I was angry, I was disgusted, I was sad, I was confused.”
Nya’s sister, Elizabeth, a senior at the school, also shared the video on Snapchat with her sister’s permission. She told CNN she believes other students at the school reported the video to an anonymous tip line.
News 8 Now is not posting or linking to the video because of its offensive nature.
“It’s not an isolated incident,” Elizabeth told CNN. “I don’t know at this point what I can do to make sure that this stops for good because it’s too much on my sister. It’s too much on the family to just constantly be in these issues where somebody is harassing her, and somebody is bullying her, and she’s only a freshman.”
Acknowledging bouts with severe anxiety and depression and suicide attempt in May, Nya said during an interview aired on KSTP-TV, “I finally have entered the part of my life where I feel like I’m finally overcoming that. This whole entire situation happens and it just feels like a relapse.”
On Nov. 10, the school district sent a letter to parents and staff that says, in part, “Our immediate concern is the health and well-being of our students. We take the ramifications of the video very seriously and know there is much we can continue to do in the days, weeks and months ahead to ensure we are making our school a safe and respectful place. The investigation of this student’s actions remains underway. Due to data privacy, we are not able to share additional details.”
Hundreds, including students from neighboring school districts, attended a Nov. 11 protest of the video outside Prior Lake High School. The peaceful demonstration included posters proclaiming “Black Lives Matter” signs and urging justice for the girl.
The district has issued several statements outlining its policies and resources available to students and staff.
A missive sent Tuesday from Prior Lake High School Principal John Bezek included an account of an incident during the protest.
“We also want to update you on a situation that occurred during last Thursday’s protest by an outside group at PLHS. The Savage Police informed us that they did address an adult male that came onto school property with a holstered weapon claiming he had a permit to carry,” Bezek wrote.
“The Savage Police located the male and removed the weapon. The case was referred to the county attorney’s office for review of charges,” his message said.
Meanwhile, The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community issued a video statement “fully condemning” the video after discovering that a minor from the Mdewakanton community was involved in making the clip.
“As a tribal nation, we are acutely aware of the destructive nature of racist thoughts and acts,” the statement says. “Our ancestors suffered from racist and genocidal government policies and acts for over 200 years.
“We are still subjected to anti-Indian racism today. We are talking with our youth about our history and the genuine harm racist beliefs and comments cause,” the Sioux statement says.
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