Two students who allegedly dressed up as Ku Klux Klan members for Halloween have been indicted on charges of an assault on a Black teen in Woodsboro, Texas. If found guilty of the crimes, both of the 17-year-olds could face up to ten years in prison.
According to KRIS 6 News, a Refugio County grand jury indicted Noel Garcia Jr., who is Hispanic, and Rance Bolcik, who is white, on Thursday, Dec. 16, with two third-degree felony charges, engaging in organized criminal activity and tampering with evidence, after authorities say they attacked a 16-year-old Black boy with a stun gun on Oct. 31 and later burned the costumes they were wearing during the assault.
The boys, both football players at Woodsboro High in the southeast Texas town, dressed as Klan members when they terrorized the victim with the electroshock weapon, authorities say. Thus, both Garcia and Bolick’s two indictments will include hate crime enhancement.
Another person, a teenage girl, was mentioned in the indictment as an accomplice. She is said to have recorded the incident from a cellphone camera and assisted the teens in burning the clothing, however, she has not been charged.
The Texas Monthly reports that all of the four students involved in this case (the two boys, the girl, and the victim) attend the Woodsboro High School. The victim actually plays on the same football team as Garcia and Bolcik. Texas Monthly reports has a one-minute video of the attack shot from a cellphone. The girl is filming. The footage is said to show the victim trying to get away from his attackers.
The victim says, “That’s not funny. Stop!”
“If you say their names, they’re gonna tase you,” the girl warns.
The noise from the taser can be heard as she continues, “Get closer.”
“Surround him,” the girl instructs Garcia and Bolcik. “Surround him!”
“Chill,” the Black boy pleads, trying to dodge the boy dressed in a white sheet and handling the device.
“KKK,” the unnamed girl proclaims before instructing one to “get on this side of him” and saying to the other, “Get on that side.” The girl starts to giggle loudly.
The Black teen is shocked once by one of the hooded figures before the video ends.
The victim’s attorney, Matt Manning, said, “I’m heartened in so far as this indictment is proof positive that at least the citizens of the grand jury in Refugio County saw the evidence, saw that the evidence was indisputable, saw that what my client said happen did in fact happen, and they are now going to bring to account at least two of those people who were involved in that crime.”
It remains unclear if the 16-year-old girl has been or will be arrested, Manning states. Another white teen who was trying to intervene also appears at times in the video near the Black boy.
Manning, as reported by Crossroads Today, says that six other people also claim to have been harassed by this same group of teens.
The Woodsboro ISD Superintendent Ronald D. Segers Jr., who represents the school district that the two teens are students in, said in a press release posted on Facebook that he was disappointed in their behavior while absolving the school from the disturbing acts of the two.
He wrote, “While we are deeply disappointed that any of our students might find this type of behavior acceptable, the district cannot discipline students for this type of conduct when it occurs off-campus.”
Segers noted that the school will provide counseling for any student “impacted by the event.”
Since the indictment, the district has released another statement, “Regardless of the advancement of any criminal case against any Woodsboro ISD student, the District’s position remains unchanged: the alleged conduct was reprehensible. Woodsboro ISD remains committed to ensuring that activities like those alleged to have occurred on Halloween do not take place in our schools, and we are working both on our campuses and in our community to teach our students that racism and violence have no place in Woodsboro, Texas.”
Manning has criticized the school for their “off the campus” position, calling them out for allowing the two boys to participate in a football game a week after the assault.
In a press conference in November, Manning called the two students’ actions “heinous,” “inexcusable,” and “disgusting.”
“For you to dress up as a Klansmen you have a specific intent of terrorizing,” the attorney said. “That’s not an accident. That’s not kids being kids, that’s not boys being boys, that’s not hazing or high school high jinks. High school high jinks are egging somebody’s house, not dressing up as a Klansmen and tasing them.”
Garcia and Bolick now sit in a Refugio County jail with a $10,000 bond over their heads as they await trial.
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