Teen charged in school fight, other student's video under investigation

Thursday, December 8, 2016
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A fight between local high school students ended with one facing charges.

HELLERTOWN, Pa. (WPVI) -- A fight between two local high school students ended with one facing charges. But now the other student is also under investigation for allegedly posting a racist video that may have started it all.

"It's not a crime to be a racist, but when you start to intimidate or harassing people and videotaping and posting on the internet and referring to them in those types of racial terms, that to me crosses the line," Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said.

Morganelli has ordered an investigation into the video made at Saucon Valley High School in Hellertown last October.

Gary Asteak's client, a 16-year-old African American student, was a participant.

A 14-year-old white student with a video camera started taunting the 16-year-old with racial slurs.

"Demeaning, insulting, racist, as virulently racist as you could possibly imagine," Asteak said.

The 14-year-old then shared that video on social media.

The 16-year-old learned of it, confronted the 14-year-old, and there was a fight.

Authorities investigated, but apparently initially dismissed the video.

"Not believing that there was any ethnic intimidation or criminal activity on the part of 14-year-old charged my client with assault," Asteak said.

On learning the DA is now reviewing the video, some in the area wonder about the 14-year-old's home life.

"Don't tell me they didn't hear it at home. You have to educate the parents along with the children," resident Mary MacCartney said.

The DA apparently saw the video for the first time Wednesday, at the urging of the 16-year-old's attorney.

After watching it, Morganelli called the video "reprehensible."