Black College Student Pummeled in Alleged Racist Attack, Called the N-Word, Hundreds Protest in His Honor…and He Doesn’t Want to Press Charges

The Black Student Union of the University of Arizona says an African American student was brutalized in “racially-motivated attack” and criticized authorities for their response.
Photo: LightFieldStudios

Full disclaimer: I’ve heard of some n-word nonsense in my time but this has me scratching my head.

On Friday, two white students—identified as Matthew Frazier and Matthew Rawlings—at the University of Arizona were arrested for assaulting a black student on Tuesday.

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The racially charged incident led to hundreds to protest in Tucson.

The attack reportedly occurred after 11 p.m. on Sept. 10 on school grounds outside of a residence hall. The assailants allegedly called the victim the n-word eight to ten times before one tackled and then punched him in the head “like five times”—according to the police report released Friday.

The victim, whose identity has not been released, said he was also kicked while on the ground by the men he did not know.

He also told authorities that he wasn’t certain the brutalization was racially motivated.

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Ummm...

According to police, both men appeared to be intoxicated and didn’t remember much of the incident when initially questioned after being found and detained and a nearby house.

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The victim had “minor injuries” from the assault, including scrapes on his knuckles, elbow, and knee, the report said.

The report also stated the victim initially did not want to press charges against the men.

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Hmmm.

On Thursday, University President Robert C. Robbins issued a statement seemingly saying more and more about less and less.

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“We need to come together and let people know, without qualification, that intolerance and discrimination have no home here. Unless we have a safe environment, free of violence, discrimination, and hate, students will not be free to learn and pursue their dreams,” he said in a statement.

The University of Arizona police chief took to social media on Friday, tweeting that UA police arrested two students and recommended charging with class 1 misdemeanor assault.

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According to the Arizona Republic, the Pima County Attorney’s Office will review the recommended charges and decide whether to prosecute.

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The Associated Press reports that protesters said [Frazier and Rawlings] were initially recommended to participate in a social justice diversion training program instead of facing charges.

What in the Felicity Huffman f#`k kind of shiznit is this?

That proposed slap-on-the-wrist was a slap-in-the-face to the Black Student Union who went right on ahead and called the attack a hate crime.

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Hotter than fish grease, the organization openly criticized the school’s response to the “racially-motivated” assault in a statement before Friday’s arrest.

“The silence on this matter is threatening. Especially as Black students, we deserve safety in our own community. The victim’s silence is warranted, but the administration’s is not.”

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We can rejoice in knowing that these future leaders are not going for the n-word nonsense.

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The above video of Friday’s protest went viral on social media, showing hundreds of people walking through streets near the university, holding signs condemning racism and hate crimes—with some yelling “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now.”

Not now. But right now. We hope.

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About the author

Karu F. Daniels

Hailing from "the thorough borough" of Brooklyn, Mr. Daniels has written for The New York Times, Associated Press, CNN, Essence, VIBE, NBC News, The Daily Beast, The New York Daily News and Word Up!