Charleston, South Carolina – Representatives from activist groups held called for a family court to release two underage teens charged in the attack of a Charleston journalist into their parents’ custody.
Police arrested a 13-year-old and a 14-year-old in the Sept. 15 assault of Charleston freelance journalist Quintin Washington. The boys, whose names authorities have not released because of their age, are charged with a misdemeanor of third-degree assault by mob, according to Charleston Police Inspector Karen Nix.
They were being held at a juvenile detention center to await a hearing in front of a family court judge. That hearing, Pastor Thomas Dixon said, is scheduled for Thursday.
“We are seeking the immediate release of these two young boys so that we can begin the journey to healing and to wholeness,” a spokesperson for the group The Phoenix Project said during the news conference. “We have collectively decided to take on the responsibility of their mentorship and their growth and development. As with every member of our communities, we wish for their success educationally, emotionally, socially and economically. We can understand and fully appreciate your need for law and order. However, we see a greater need for humanity, compassion and respect. These mothers need our full support and we intend to offer it fervently and make certain that these children are not put in a perpetual cycle, a cycle which does not create an environment conducive to them growing as productive men in our society.”
Washington, who interviews newsmakers on his YouTube series, “Quintin’s Closeups,” told police he was walking in the area of South Market Street when the boys, who were riding bicycles, began to harass and curse at him. Eventually, he said they threw rocks and then physically attacked him. A witness verified Washington’s account of what happened. Both Washington and the witness recorded part of the incident on video.
“Whatever happened in the incident or whatever, we’re going to allow the courts to work that out,” Dixon, who leads The Coalition, said at the news conference. “We’re here to talk about the support system that’s in place for this 13 and 14-year-old, for their parents, and for our community, as we look toward healing and not toward the aspects of punishment, guilt, or whatever. That, we’ll let the courts figure that part out.”
Washington was not injured in the attack, he said.