NAACP Wants SJSU Charges Increased to Felonies

There are calls for increased charges for the San Jose State University students accused in an alleged hate crime against a black student.

On Saturday, the NAACP called on the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office to increase the charges against three students who are accused of harassing their black roommate to felonies.

The NAACP also wants the DA to add the charge of false imprisonment.

The alleged crimes happened in a four-bedroom dormitory suite on campus in August.

"The community will not stand idly by and allow for any student of color to be terrorized simply due to the color of his skin. This is not simple hazing or bullying, this is obviously racially based terrorism targeted at their African American roommate. The behavior of these three students warrants nothing less than felony charges," Reverend Jethroe Moore II said.

On Friday, a fourth student was suspended in connection with the incident.

University President Mohammed Qayoumi announced the suspension but did not name the suspended student.

"I applaud the campus for its ongoing efforts to begin the healing process that is necessary,'' SJSU Chancellor Timothy White said in a statement Friday.

"President Qayoumi has already reached out to African-American leaders in the Bay Area for their counsel and assistance.

Criminal arrest warrants have been issued for three white students Logan Beaschler and Collin Warren, both 18, and 19-year-old Joseph Bomgardner who face misdemeanor hate crime and battery charges.

According to a police report, they outfitted their dormitory suite with a Confederate flag, barricaded the victim in his room, and placed a U-shaped bicycle lock around his neck and claimed they lost the key.

The victim hasn't been named at his parents' request. The San Jose Mercury News reported that one of the suspects, Beaschler, turned himself in Thursday and that the others were expected to surrender this week.

Qayoumi also announced that after meeting Friday morning with the Rev. Jethroe Moore, president of the San Jose/Silicon Valley Chapter of the NAACP, he is taking a number of steps in response to the allegations, including: hosting a campus forum in December to discuss racial intolerance at SJSU; offering a lecture series next spring on diversity and tolerance; and a review of the university's practices related to students' well-being.

`Our goal is including race-based misconduct in existing zero-tolerance student conduct policies,'' Qayoumi said, adding that he had asked for a report on the policies by Dec. 15 and would share the results publicly.

Qayoumi and Moore will hold a press conference on the campus at noon Monday to discuss the pending criminal charges.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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