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Prosecutors Investigating Racist Walmart Announcement

Sunday night, some yahoo got on the PA at a Walmart store in Washington Township, N.J., and made the following announcement: "Attention, Walmart customers: All black people, leave the store now." It is still unclear whether the gentleman was an employee or a customer who got access to one of the dozens of PA-enabled phones in the store.

Now, the Gloucester County Prosecutor is apparently investigating whether a bias crime was committed. My very quick perusal of the New Jersey criminal statutes tells me the potential crime being investigated likely couldn't be anything more serious than harassment. But harassment is one of the offenses that can be ratcheted up to bias intimidation if the targets are selected based on race.

Assuming they can figure out who made the announcement and track him down, does he get charged? Is he convicted? Does he plead out? Does it matter whether it was an employee or not? Is it much ado about nothing and a waste of taxpayer resources, as many commenters seem to believe?

Posted by Eric Lipman on March 19, 2010 at 01:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

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