Two white girls, ages 10 and 11, have been charged after allegedly assaulting a 10-year-old black schoolmate inside a school bus in Gouverneur, N.Y.
According to court papers obtained by local news station WWNY, surveillance video shows a shocking display of hate when the two young attackers hurled racial epithets at the victim, a fifth-grader from Gouverneur Middle School, both before and during the physical attack.
Gouverneur is a small town in upstate New York, located some 100 miles northeast of Syracuse.
The attack left the victim with a left eye from being punched, and with a bruise in her knee from falling backwards, when the attackers pulled her hair. One of them is caught on video saying: “N---s always start it” and “I like my people, but I don’t like your people,” according to the station.
Police charged the two girls with second-degree harassment. The 11-year-old was also charged with third-degree assault as a hate crime.
Gouverneur police chief Laurina Greenhill explained the hate crime charge: when the motivation is “based on race or religion, or perception of race or religion,” she told WWNY. "And there are some other factors for that. In this case, we’re talking about race,” she said.
A bus monitor, 28-year-old Tiffany Spicer, saw the incident but allegedly didn’t try to stop it. She was charged with three counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
Officer Darren Fairbanks described the surveillance video in an affidavit. He said that Spicer, who’s white, didn’t make any efforts to intervene, other than telling the attackers, “You guys are worse than my kids.” She also said “Take a chill pill. I know how she ... is. She rode my bus last year,” Fairbanks added.
The incident allegedly happened on Sept. 9. when a girl asked the victim for her full name, her grade and her age.
"I told [redacted name] that it was none of her business and that I wasn't answering her questions,” the victim wrote in a deposition, according to CNN.
The girl “then told me that I had to tell her or I was going to get into trouble. I still did not answer [redacted name's] question and she kicked me in the right knee," she added.
On the following day, the victim wrote, the same girl told a second girl about what had happened the day before. The three started exchanging words, and one of the girls called her a “b---h” and the other one used the N-word to refer to her.
In a statement released Wednesday Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that he was “appalled by the reports of the horrendous, 20-minute racist assault on a 10-year-old African American girl.”
Cuomo said that he’d directed the state’s division of human rights to "open an investigation into this heinous act immediately.” He’s also called on the state’s Hate Crime Task Force to help local authorities with the investigation.
“In New York, violence of any kind towards others based on their race or religion is not only offensive and repugnant to our values, it is illegal. We will never allow hate to win — we will defeat it and we will continue to use every tool at our disposal to help ensure all our children are safe from hate.”