In 2013, three students were charged and found guilty in a hate crime at San Jose State University where an African-American freshman had a bike lock around his neck of misdemeanor battery, however on Monday they escaped conviction of hate crime contentions.
The defendants in the case, Colin Warren, Logan Beaschler, and Brett Bomgardner were charged with various degrees to subjecting Donald Williams Jr. to continuous bullying that was considered a hate crime during the fall of 2013. A Santa Clara County Superior Court jury convicted all three on Monday of misdemeanor battery.
Bomgardner was found not guilty on charges of a hate crime by use of force and the Judge, Thang Barrett declared a mistrial on hate crime allegations against Beaschler and Warren after the jury deadlocked on those charges. The county district attorney’s office says they will consider asking for a retrial on the hate crime charges.
This bullying consisted of putting a U-shaped bike lock around Williams’ neck and refusing to give him the key before finally letting him go, trying to lock him in a closet, and displaying a Confederate flag in their suite. Prosecutors said that the defendants called Williams “three-fifths” and “fraction” which refers to the fraction the US Census used to count Black slaves in the South in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen spoke out on Monday.
“This violence did not happen in a historical vacuum. This violent act was done to a young black college student by five white men, an injustice inflicted upon because of the color of his skin.”
He continued to say, “Prejudice is not a prank. Today’s decision was partially disappointing, but not dispiriting. Our resolve to fight hate crimes remains unwavering.”
The interim president of San Jose State also offered some news.
“All four students who engaged in these acts are no longer enrolled at SJSU. The victim and his family are pursuing civil remedies independent of the criminal actions.”
(Photo Credit: Tzuhsun Hsu/Flickr)