A manager quickly got on the intercom system and apologized for the remark. However, some community members said on Saturday that they’ve heard reports of similar incidents at the store that were not reported to police.
It is as yet unclear if the teen, unnamed due to his age, felt his actions were simply a prank. However, speaking to a psychologist, Dr. Dominika Osmolska, PsyD, the evidence is clear that there is certainly racism involved: "Well, of course. After all, with access to the P.A. system, why choose to say that, otherwise?"
Police would not confirm if the boy had a criminal record and would not disclose the teen’s race. If convicted, he would face up to a year in juvenile detention.
Loretta Winters, president of the Gloucester County chapter of the NAACP, said “We are concerned about that, and we’re looking into these incidents. We want to work with the community to make sure these types of incidents don’t happen. I’m assuming this person didn’t realize how hurtful his comments were."
Speaking again to Dr. Osmolska, she said that despite his apparent racism, the above comments could still be true. "Frequently teenagers are thoughtless, and do not realize how their actions affect other people. This does not discount the apparent racism in the boy, nor likely in his parents, as racism generally begins at home."