New York City A 16-year-old customer at a Walmart store in Washington Township, N.J., has been identified as the person who took over the public-address system and ordered black people to leave the store, police said Saturday, the Associated Press reported.
Police said the boy, whose name is not being released because he is a juvenile, went on the intercom at Walmart's store last week Sunday and announced: "Attention, Walmart customers: All black people, leave the store now."
The teen was arrested Friday on charges of harassment and bias intimidation. Authorities said he was released to the custody of his parents; they did not know whether he had a lawyer.
"This was an extremely disturbing event on many levels," Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton said at a news conference. "Any statements like these that can cause harm or grave concern must be addressed as quickly we possibly can."
Dalton said the case would be handled in juvenile court in neighboring Atlantic County, where the boy lives.
"We're pleased this matter is resolved," Walmart spokesman David Tovar said in a statement issued after the news conference. "We have updated our intercom system at this store to prevent this from happening again. We again apologize to all of our customers and associates who had to listen to something so offensive."