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Posted: 7:25 a.m. Friday, Jan. 13, 2017

Charges dropped against black teen accused of stealing 65-cent carton of milk

School lunch milk
An unidentified student at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Elementary School in Utica, N.Y., reaches into the cooler to get milk in a file photo. A Virginia teen has been charged with larceny and disorderly conduct after being accused in May 2016 of stealing a carton of milk at lunch. 

By Crystal Bonvillian

Cox Media Group National Content Desk


Prosecutors in Virginia have dropped charges against a black teen accused of stealing a 65-cent carton of milk that his family said he was entitled to as a recipient of his middle school’s free lunch program.

Ryan Turk, 15, was facing charges of petit larceny and disorderly conduct, according to the Washington Post. The Post reported Thursday that prosecutors dropped the charges after speaking to Turk’s counselor. The teen’s trial, postponed in November, was scheduled to begin Thursday morning.

Turk was arrested last May after a school resource officer saw him cut in the school lunch line to grab the milk. Turk, a recipient of free lunches, said at the time that he had forgotten to get his milk when he went through the line for his meal.

The disorderly conduct charge was tacked on because the school resource officer alleged that Turk became disorderly when he tried to take him to the principal’s office. Turk admitted after his arrest that he pulled away from the officer.

“I yanked away from him. I told him to get off of me because he’s not my dad,” Turk said at the time.

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When discussing the dismissal of charges Thursday, the prosecutor in the case addressed the teen’s demeanor.

“He’s already taken actions to remedy his attitude,” Prince William County Commonweath’s Attorney Paul Ebert said, according to the Post.

Turk’s mother, Shamise Turk, told the Post that it’s been hard for her son to focus on school while awaiting a resolution of the charges. The teen was initially offered nonjudicial punishment, but his mother turned it down to fight the charges against her son.

The family’s attorney said they plan to petition to have the charges erased from the teen’s record after a year.

Since her son’s arrest, Shamise Turk has begun working toward a master’s degree in criminal justice, the Post reported.