NAACP Demands Felony Charges in College Hate Crime

Civil rights activists are urging the state prosecutor to file felony charges against four white students accused of alleged hate crimes against a black roommate.

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Protestors gather around a statue on San Jose State University's campus after allegations that four white students tortured a black student surfaced.

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San Jose State University's president announced that a fourth student has been suspended in connection with alleged hate crimes against a black student, and the NAACP wants all involved charged with felonies, the Associated Press reports.

Civil right activists are demanding Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen file hate-crime charges against the four white students accused of tormenting their black roommate.

Currently, the students are facing misdemeanor hate-crime and battery charges, which could result in no jail time even if they are found guilty.

"This is not simple hazing or bullying. This is obviously racially based terrorism targeted at their African-American roommate," the Rev. Jethroe Moore II, president of the San Jose/Silicon Valley NAACP, said in a statement Saturday. "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."

According to a police report obtained by the Associated Press, the white students called their freshman roommate "Three-Fifths" and "Fraction"—referring to the way the government once considered a black person to be just a fraction of a person. They hung confederate flags in the dormitory, barricaded the victim in his room and placed a U-shaped bicycle lock around his neck.

Rosen says that while he respects that NAACP and their position, he and his office have filed the "appropriate charges in this case, based upon the evidence," according to the San Jose Mercury News.

"We have deep respect for the NAACP," Rosen added. "We share its abhorrence for hate crimes and share its desire for justice."

University officials have suspended the four white students involved and condemned their actions. Efforts by the San Jose Mercury News and the Associated Press to contact the students involved have been unsuccessful. It is unclear if the students have hired legal defense, as they haven't released public statements, the Associated Press reports.

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