A 12-year-old boy has been arrested by West Midlands Police after he purportedly sent a series of racist messages and Ku Klux Klan picture to Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha. Earlier, Zaha had shared screenshots of the messages on his Twitter handle.
“#ARRESTED| We were alerted to a series of racist messages sent to a footballer today and after looking into them and conducting checks, we have arrested a boy.
“The 12-year-old from #Solihull has been taken to custody.
“Thanks to everyone who raised it. Racism won’t be tolerated,” the West Midlands Police tweeted.
The age of criminal responsibility in England is 10 years.
Woke up to this today. pic.twitter.com/Zal0F96htJ
— Wilfried Zaha (@wilfriedzaha) July 12, 2020
#ARRESTED| We were alerted to a series of racist messages sent to a footballer today and after looking into them and conducting checks, we have arrested a boy.
The 12-year-old from #Solihull has been taken to custody.
Thanks to everyone who raised it. Racism won’t be tolerated. pic.twitter.com/oFxBUvdtV1
— West Midlands Police – #StayAlert (@WMPolice) July 12, 2020
Earlier, ahead of Palace’s Premier League fixture against Aston Villa at Villa Park on Sunday, Zaha had shared the Instagram messages and images with the caption: “Woke up to this today.”
The incident has happened at a time when the Black Lives Matter protests have become a rights movement, with players cutting across sporting disciplines taking a knee to show solidarity.
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson lent his support to the 27-year-old winger, backing his decision to go public, highlighting the abuse.
“It is very saddening on the day of a game that a player wakes up to this cowardly and despicable abuse,” Hodgson was quoted as saying by Sky News.
He added: “I think it is right that Wilf made people aware of it; I don’t think it is something he should keep quiet about. There is literally no excuse; there is no excuse at all.”
The Premier League, too, has condemned the incident through a tweet, describing the racist behaviour “completely unacceptable” and vowing to “stand alongside” Zaha.
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