A Texas college student who suggested that “all the black people” at a New Jersey high school should be shot in an online group message has been indicted by a grand jury, according to the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office. Kenneth Petersen, 21, was indicted on Jan. 9 on one count of bias intimidation, authorities said. A student at Northern Burlington Regional High School in Mansfield Township, New Jersey, created a group chat in the messaging app GroupMe to discuss senior pranks in 2018, according to a statement from Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina. The student alerted a teacher to Petersen's alleged message in the chat, who then contacted police to investigate, NJ.com reports. Police eventually discovered that the message was posted by Petersen, who was subsequently arrested, according to authorities.
“There can never be any tolerance for racially-motivated threats like this and, especially during recent times when we have seen threats escalate to actual acts of violence, law enforcement must respond with the utmost seriousness,” Coffina said in the statement. “You cannot hide behind a cell phone halfway across the country while spewing such hatred.” NJ.com reports that it was unclear why Petersen responded to the high school group chat, which was available to anyone with a GroupMe account.