BRENTWOOD – After three juveniles reenacted the killing of George Floyd on social media, Rockingham County Attorney Patricia Conway on Thursday warned that anyone who commits the crime of strangulation will be “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Three male students from Sanborn Regional High School in Kingston posted a video on social media earlier this week of themselves reenacting Floyd’s death, and the Kingston Police Department subsequently investigated.
On Thursday, in a joint statement, Kingston Police and Conway said while the behavior was “disturbing, distasteful and extremely disrespectful to the late George Floyd and his family,” all three juveniles voluntarily engaged in the behavior, and the juvenile laying on the ground did not experience any impeded breathing, blood circulation or change in voice.
“Accordingly, no charges will be filed against any of the juveniles,” the statement said.
Kingston police and Conway went on to vehemently condemn the behavior. Both agencies have become aware of the “George Floyd Challenge” on social media, where juveniles and some adults are re-enacting the murder, they said.
“This behavior is hateful and will only serve to further separate the citizens of our country,” the statement said. “Now is the time to bring people together with acts of kindness, tolerance and respect.”
Police and Conway warned that if any individual “knowingly applies pressure to the neck of another person causing the other person to experience impeded breathing, blood circulation or a change in voice,” this person has committed the offense of strangulation, a Class B felony that carries a penalty of 3.5 to 7 years in state prison.
“The Kingston Police Department and the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office take this crime very seriously as strangulation can easily result in brain damage and in some cases death in as little as four minutes,” they said. “If any member of our community commits the crime of strangulation as a result of engaging in this so-called challenge, he/she will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
The agencies continued, “The Kingston Police Department and the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office is committed to combating racism and social injustice in our community. While we are sickened by the behavior of the three juveniles, please do not engage in criminal behavior towards these young men and their respective families. Further violence or threatening behavior will only lead to more hate and violence.”