An 11-year-old Black girl from Kansas City, Kan., is recovering after being brutally beaten Friday in what her family said was a racially motivated attack. Now, a 12-year-old boy charged in her attack is on house arrest and could face hate crime charges.
Fox 4 reports that Nevaeh Thomas was attacked while she was playing with friends near an apartment complex in Shawnee. Nevaeh’s mother, Brandi Stewart, said she believed an older boy was responsible for her daughter’s injuries and that it was racially motivated because he used racial slurs and then physically attacked her after she responded to the slurs by saying, “My Black is beautiful.”
“Her feelings are more hurt because of the act of the racial act. Not so much of the scarring,” Stewart told Fox 4 adding that Nevaeh “suffered from a concussion. She has stitches inside and outside of her cheek. She lost her tooth.”
Initially, investigators did not confirm whether a child attacked Nevaeh. A police incident report only confirmed that she was hit with a blunt object. But it was later reported that a 12-year-old boy had been charged with felony aggravated battery in connection with the attack and placed under house arrest. According to Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe, “hate crime charges could be filed in the case, although proceedings in the juvenile system are often handled differently than the adult system,” Fox 4 reports.
“Probably one of the chief things that the court wants to do is get an evaluation to determine what are the underlying factors that are causing this behavior,” Howe said. “One of the things that we have seen through this whole shutdown and COVID-19 is kids have been acting out. Luckily, most of the behavior is pretty minor behavior.”
But LaRonna Lassiter-Saunders, an attorney representing Nevaeh, wants to focus on getting justice, not figuring out what was going on in the boy’s head.
“That’s not for us to decide his intention behind it,” Lassiter-Saunders said. “All we know is that he used racial slurs, he hit this little girl. I do want to say to the public and America in general: We’ve done a lot of talking. Now it’s time to act.”