“We were just young,” Cherie says. “We didn’t even think we could go to jail for it. Honestly, we didn’t think about jail when it happened.” Each of them was arrested anyway. The other kids, a group of skateboarders, accused them of stealing some of their stuff, including a cell phone. “Nothing was found on Richard and his friends,” Slater writes, “but charges were brought.”
This passage contains another example of social discrimination based on race within The 57 Bus, as charges are brought against the children without evidence. Presumably, if Richard and his friends had been white, it is likely that this experience would have ended much differently.
Each of them was sentenced and “went their separate ways.” Cherie was sentenced to probation and made to wear a “GPS monitor on her ankle,” but Richard was sent to the group home in Redding three hours away. He stayed there for over a year. Skeet was sent to another group home, and Richard and his friends “would never all be together again. After that, everything went wrong instead of right,” Slater writes.
Slater implies that Richard’s previous arrest and punishment is a catalyst for the events leading up to Sasha’s attack. In this way, Richard alone is not wholly responsible for Sasha’s assault; rather, Slater implies that Richard’s racist society is, at least in part, responsible for Richard’s actions that day.