Family’s attorney says ‘now it’s time to act’ after 11-year-old Olathe girl badly injured in alleged hate crime incident

Kansas

OLATHE, Kan. (WDAF) — A 12-year-old boy is on house arrest and an 11-year-old girl is so badly injured she ended up in the hospital. The fallout of a weekend assault, labeled a racial attack.

Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe says his office is working on getting to the bottom of what caused the child to use racial slurs and then pick up a pipe and hit the girl in the face.

Eleven-year-old Nevaeh Thomas is recovering after she was attacked with a metal pipe by a 12-year-old boy in Shawnee on Friday. It happened during a play date.

Nevaeh’s mother says the boy walked up to her while playing and called her racial slurs. She responded with ‘my black is beautiful.’ That’s when Nevaeh said the boy hit her int he face with a pipe.

“It’s time to change. Change yourself, hold your family, your neighbors, your friends accountable,” family attorney, LaRonna Lassiter-Saunders said.

The boy is charged with aggravated battery and is now on house arrest. Howe said the next step is focusing on correcting the boy’s behavior.

“Probably one of the chief things that the court wants to do is get an evaluation to determine what are the underlying factors that are causing this behavior,” Howe said.

The district attorney can’t specifically talk about details in this boy’s case, since he’s a minor. But Howe says he sees a trend in more kids acting out right now.

“One of the things that we have seen through this whole shut down and COVID-19 is kids have been acting out. Luckily, most of the behavior is pretty minor behavior,” Howe said.

Thomas’ attorney, LaRonna Lassiter-Saunders wants the courts to be fair.

“That’s not for us to decide his intention behind it. All we know is that he used racial slurs, he hit this little girl,” Lassiter-Saunders said. “I do want to say to the public and America in general…we’ve done a lot of talking. Now it’s time to act.”

If you’d like to send Nevaeh a card or flowers, you can send them to Empowerment Temple at 2601 Garfield Ave., Kansas City, Kan.

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