The Transylvania Times -

Police: Charges Involve 'Ethnic Intimidation' - Brevard NC


Four people are facing charges stemming from alleged ethnic threats being made at Brevard High School this past Tuesday and during an incident later that evening.

Transylvania County Sheriff's deputies have charged a 15-year-old Brevard High School student with ethnic intimidation, a misdemeanor, after an incident on Tuesday at the school. The name of the student charged has not been released because the person is a minor.

Additionally, Brevard police charged three males in connection to an incident on the night of Tuesday, Nov. 17, where the three allegedly took knives and sticks to a neighborhood and made ethnic threats.

Christopher M. Blackburn, 20, of Brevard was also charged with ethnic intimidation after he and two others allegedly went to Hemphill Circle in Brevard, attempting to locate an individual involved in some type of altercation at Brevard High School earlier in the day.

A 16-year-old Brevard High School and Johnathan A. Johnson, 18, of Brevard were both charged with misdemeanor aiding and abetting on ethnic intimidation.

A school resource officer said the first student made comments that would be considered ethnic intimidation during a verbal argument at the school.

Brevard Police said that later that night the other three arrived and confronted a group of people about 10:45 p.m.

According to police, the three were armed with sticks and knives.

There were no reports of physical violence.

The ethnic intimidation charge stemmed from Blackburn allegedly threatening to do harm based on someone else's race or color.

On Friday morning, Brevard Police Chief Phil Harris and Transylvania County Sheriff David Mahoney addressed claims of racial tension at the high school, saying both agencies have increased law enforcement presence on the campus, resulting from the alleged incident that happened on Tuesday.

"A group of students, I think, got into a name calling, and pretty vocal, verbal argument earlier in the week," said Mahoney.

Mahoney had pulled school resource officers from Davidson River School, as well as Brevard Middle School, as a safety measure and reassigned them to the high school.

The three arrested are white, according to police, and the individual they were looking to confront was a black male, who had been allegedly involved in the altercation on Tuesday.

"Certainly, there have been racial undertones," Mahoney said.

Harris said his department has increased its presence as well, with about 10 police officers walking the halls.

"We are dealing with a couple of incidents and a lot of rumors that are spinning up and distorting the truth," Harris said.

Harris said two students got into an argument on Tuesday and that there haven't been any reported incidents since.

"That was the cause of all of this," he said.

However, Harris did say his office had been investigating a threat involving a gun.

"We've gotten reports that somebody was going to come to the school on Friday, and they were going to bring a gun and harm people," he said.

Harris said the school district had suspended several students as a result of the alleged incident.

Harris, who also walked the halls of Brevard High School, visited the Rise & Shine after-school program at Bethel "A" Baptist Church in Brevard to gather information and assure the students they were safe.

The group's website says the program grew "out of a dark chapter in local history.

"In the face of overt racism, as represented by the KKK, a group of concerned citizens initiated an ongoing community dialogue on racial reconciliation."

Harris said his department would continue to monitor the situation.

"We are going to continue until we all get a sense everything is OK," he added.


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