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Mequon-Thiensville student issues apology for video mocking George Floyd's death

Posted at 3:54 PM, Jun 19, 2020

MEQUON, Wis. -- The Mequon-Thiensville School District student seen in a social media video this week mocking George Floyd's death in police custody is now apologizing.

"What I did was disgusting, and wrong, and terrible," Cole Elsbree said in the video apology that was shared with TMJ4 News. "No one is more disappointed than I am in myself. I'm taking full responsibility for my actions, and over the days I've seen just how many people have been hurt by this."

The video in question shows a junior at Homestead High School giving two thumbs up, while kneeling on another young man’s neck, who says “I can’t breathe,” while laughing.

The video has sparked demands for action, and criticism that the school district needs to do more racism prevention and education.

In his apology, Elsbree declared his support for the Black Lives Matter movement:

"I fully stand with and support the Black Lives Matter movement, and I believe that this will be an important turning point in our country's history," Elsbree said. "My actions were still disgusting, and I'm deeply sorry to all the people that I hurt and disappointed by this."

"I've heard how angry people are...and I've been listening, and I hear you. I'm sorry."

Matthew Joynt, Superintendent of the Mequon-Thiensville School District, released the following statement Thursday afternoon:

“The Mequon-Thiensville School District is aware of an offensive video posted on social media featuring two students and recorded by a third student who attend schools in this district. We will not dignify the video by describing it, but the behavior exhibited in the video is reprehensible and not representative of our diverse and inclusive student bodies. Nor is it representative of this district’s efforts to be inclusive and show respect to all individuals. Without condition, the Mequon-Thiensville School District asserts that Black Lives Matter. And we look forward to continuing to educate and work with our students, families, faculty and staff, and other community stakeholders to implement systemic change that rejects racism and other forms of bigotry. We are investigating this matter and are unable to comment further at this time on potential responses to the video, which we unequivocally denounce.”

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