Community rallies around student facing charges

1 year ago 149
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LANSDALE, Pa. (CBS) — Residents and leaders in Montgomery County are joining a Muslim North Penn High School student in advocating for her innocence after a fight two months ago resulted in her impending criminal charges.

The May video shows Sanaa Beaufort fighting with two classmates. According to Beaufort’s attorney, the two students pulled off her hijab in an unprovoked attack.

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On Wednesday, community members gathered and decried the upcoming charges. State lawmakers and religious leaders joined in on the push for Beaufort’s battle. It’s a battle that Beaufort herself wants to see resolved soon.

“I wanna see justice, I wanna see my charges dropped,” she told CBS3. “I wanna see me going back into North Penn with a great school behind me.”

The family’s attorney, Timothy Welbeck, works for the Philadelphia section of Counsel on American Islamic Relations. He says that although no charges are filed yet, Beaufort’s reputation is already at stake.

“No criminal charges have been filed just yet. Right now, Sanaa though has entered into the criminal system as an offender.” Welbeck told Eyewitness News, adding, “It is our argument we’re maintaining that Sanaa is the victim.”

Those voicing their support say there are obvious religious and racial overtones to the situation and they don’t want that to be ignored.

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In a statement from the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office, they say the Towamencin Police Department “found no evidence that racial or religious bias motivated this fight.”

The police department released a statement on their Facebook page on their investigation.

Beaufort’s supporters and her own family say the charges shouldn’t have been drafted in the first place.

“They had already exonerated her,” James Wilkins, Beaufort’s father said. “An apology by the girls she was in the altercation with.”

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Natasha Brown

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