No criminal charges will be filed against members of a New Jersey high school wrestling team who posed in a photo simulating a lynching.
The picture showed seven white boys in Phillipsburg wrestling attire surrounding a black wrestling dummy wearing a rival school’s t-shirt. The dummy was hanging from a noose.
The photo, which was taken after the team won the Group 4 state championship in February, also showed two of the boys with the hoods on their sweatshirts fixed into points.
An attorney for eight members of the team said the photo was meant “innocently,” and expressed disappointment at the wrestlers being banned from the state individual tournament and suspended three days from school.
“When we spontaneously set the scene and posed for the photograph, our sole purpose was to promote school spirit and portray our wrestling team as victor over two of our arch-rivals – Paulsboro High School and Kittatinny High School, and not for any other purpose,” attorney Scott Wilhelm said in February on behalf of the students.
The matter is being returned to Phillipsburg High School officials. They will decide on whatever administrative action the boys will face.
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