School Officials Cleared in Alleged Racial Incident

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department concludes its investigation of the controversial incident that occurred at Santa Monica High School.

administrators have been cleared of any wrongdoing over an that involved the harassment of a black member of the high school's wrestling team by two of his white teammates on May 4.

There is no probable cause to believe that school officials "participated in any activity, or acted in such a manner, that supports an allegation of criminal misconduct," police said in a statement.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau concluded its investigation of the alleged incident on Friday. The investigation included interviews; and reviews of the crime report, written declarations and photographic images, according to police.

After the alleged incident, the victim's family filed a report with the . The SMPD previously said there had been allegations that school administrators "had handled the incident unlawfully."

On July 11, SMPD Chief requested that the ICIB assist with the investigation. The SMPD had stated that the case of administrator misconduct was referred to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department due to the SMPD's close relationship with the school district administration. Officials stressed the referral is done routinely to avoid conflicts of interest and that it did not signify any determination of unlawful activity.

"It had been alleged that Santa Monica High School staff members intimidated victims and/or witnesses and destroyed evidence," the SMPD said in a statement. "The participation of ICIB in this matter would safeguard the integrity and credibility of the investigation."

The , which was presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office for filing consideration on Sept. 20, is under review following an investigation by the SMPD's Criminal Investigations Division.

The alleged May incident, which drew national attention, involved two white members of the school's wrestling team who used a cable to tie a black teammate to the locker while they yelled, "Slave for sale," according to a complaint filed with the SMPD. It was also reported that a brown practice mannequin with a noose tied around the neck was found nearby.

Neither nor Santa Monica High School staff mentioned the alleged incident to the victims' mother, who found out about it from other parents. publicly apologized to her about the lack of communication at the .

Numerous members of the public spoke about the alleged incident at the June 30 board meeting. , and some people accused district and Santa Monica High School staff of trying to cover up the alleged incident. Current and former coaches, and athletes, on the wrestling team told the board the situation was a prank that went too far.

The two boys who allegedly committed the harassment were suspended for three days and were ordered to assist with a freshman seminar on hazing, according to the SMMUSD.


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