Minnesota police investigating racist video of teen girl encouraging Black student’s suicide
"I was angry, I was disgusted, I was sad, I was confused," 14-year-old Nya Sigin told CNN about the vile video activist Shaun King shared.
An investigation is underway in a Minneapolis, Minnesota, suburb after a high school freshman was the target of an attack by two classmates, who posted a video full of racist slurs, urging her to take her own life.
“I really couldn’t comprehend what I was listening to, it was really just a wave of different emotions. I was angry, I was disgusted, I was sad, I was confused,” 14-year-old Nya Sigin told CNN. She said she has known one girl in the video since elementary school — “basically, my entire life.”
As previously reported, activist Shaun King shared the vile video on his Instagram page, along with the message: “Young nasty racist Karens soon become grown nasty racist Karens.”
The one-minute clip shows a student King identifies as Jaelyn Crooks of Prior Lake High School repeatedly using the N-word and encouraging a student to end their life. A second student heard in the background of the clip has reportedly since been identified as Jayden Kewley.
Nya’s sister, Elizabeth, who is a senior at the same school, Prior Lake High, shared the video on Snapchat with her younger sister’s permission. She told CNN she believes that students at their school reported the video to an anonymous tip line.
“It’s not an isolated incident,” Elizabeth Sigin said. “I don’t know at this point what I can do to make sure that this stops for good because it’s too much on my sister. It’s too much on the family to just constantly be in these issues where somebody is harassing her, and somebody is bullying her, and she’s only a freshman. She still has three more years of being at the school, and I want those three years to be good for her.”
Teri Staloch, the superintendent of the Prior Lake-Savage Area School District, sent a letter to parents and staff, calling the video “disturbing.”
“This is something that impacts all of us in the community and we recognize the pain and hurt that is a result,” Staloch wrote. “At PLSAS, our top priority is to provide safe, supportive and inclusive learning environments for all students.”
As a result of the video, Staloch wrote some staff had “gathered together with some student leaders to discuss ways we can move forward in a safe and respectful learning and working environment.”
Nya’s father, Taban Sigin, told CNN his daughter had previously struggled with mental health issues, and she had attempted suicide earlier this year. Nya had reportedly told a few close friends about the ordeal.
Savage Police Chief Rodney Seurer said in a press conference Thursday that he was advised of the video last week. “This is not tolerated here,” he said.
“It’s still early on in the investigation so really can’t comment on what possible charges … we’re looking at all aspects, wherever our investigation will take us,” Seurer added.
Prior Lake High School is 4.3% Black, and while the race of the students who made the video was not disclosed, the Minneapolis NAACP said in a statement to CNN that they are “seeking justice for Nya and all Black students.”
“We demand that the Prior Lake-Savage Area School district be transparent throughout this investigation,” contended Minneapolis NAACP chapter secretary Brooke Roper, “and stand on its commitment to implementing racial equity within its practices to ensure that the 4.3% of Black students enrolled in their school district are heard, protected, validated and equipped with equitable resources and REAL change.”
This article features additional reporting from theGrio’s Ny Magee.