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Wayne Post
  • Criminal charge, conversation on racism follow offensive video

  • Community activists are calling for change after a Greece man posted a derogatory video to a Hilton teen's Facebook account.

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  • Alex Hare said he was disgusted when he saw checked his Facebook account last month and saw a video posted by a friend.
    That video contains racial slurs and threats against Alex, 16, who attends Hilton High School. It also references the murder of a young girl by her father several years ago. Alex's mother and the girl's mother are friends.
    "I was absolutely appalled by it," Alex said.
    A spat among himself and his former friends is what started the trouble, according to Alex, who said he knows all but one of the teens in the video. One of those teens, Nicholas A. Robare, 18, of Whitman Road, was charged this week with second-degree harassment by Greece Police.
    "The derogatory racial statements and profanity is disturbing and has no place in our society," Chief Todd Baxter said. "The actions of the defendant reached the level of criminal behavior and will be dealt with as such."
    Robare was charged, according to Capt. Patrick Phelan, because he posted the video to Alex's Facebook account which constituted a direct threat via electronic means.
    "The video, while it's extremely offensive and in extremely poor taste, [has] no illegal acts other than the fact that when he sent the video via Facebook to the victim, that violated the statute for aggravated harassment second," Phelan said.
    The Greece Post is not identifying the other participants in the video because they have not been criminally charged. However, their alleged identities have been posted online by Davy Vara, a Brighton resident who operates a blog which first posted the video at the end of November. Vara, who identifies himself as a community activist, said he was alerted to the video's existence and felt motivated to expose it and its perpetrators. He defends his posting of the alleged participants' personal information.
    "You got the guts to do something as sick as that .... and disrespect the memory of an innocent little girl who's rotting in a grave at Mount Hope Cemetery? Of course I'm going to expose them," he said.
    On Tuesday, Vara, along with Alex, his mother, Michelle, and community activist Howard Eagle held a press conference in Rochester denouncing the behavior depicted in the video and calling for change.
    "We need to see it not only in our kids but in our schools, our community, and our laws," Vara said.
    "Why do they think this is okay?"
    Vara said he wants to make sure the topic remains in the public eye, which is why he is organizing a march Thursday. It's slated to begin at 4 p.m. in Barnard Park, 410 Maiden Lane, and travel to a home on Whitman Road where the video was allegedly made.
    Page 2 of 2 - Eagle said this incident is an opportunity to move forward, starting with a dialogue on racism, which pervades in the community, he said.
    He said the young people in the video likely didn't just use the 'N' word for the first time that day.
    "This is the norm for them," he said.
    Michelle Hare, Alex's mother, said she just wants solutions to the issue. So does Mbele Badawai, a family friend of the Hare's and Noel Parcells, the girl murdered by her father last year.
    "The point is to come together ... and get everything on the table," he said. "Covering it up does nobody any good."
    Robare's charge is a misdemeanor. He was released with an appearance ticket and is due back in Greece Town Court on Jan. 3. He faces up to one year in jail.
    Alex said he just wants a sincere apology and for people to be more aware of bullying.
    "It needs to stop. It really does," he said. "It's unacceptable. If you see it happening, stop it. If you know you are in the midst of it happening, don't help it."
     
     
     

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