On Monday, three students from San Jose State University were only charged with a misdemeanor offense after they were accused of putting a bike lock around a black student’s neck.
The students, all white males, reportedly also attempted to lock the black student in a closet and called him “three-fifths of a person.” The jury concluded that these crimes, among other accusations of harassment from the students, were not hate crimes.
According to Mercury News, the students in question were Joseph “Brett” Bomgardner, 21, Logan Beaschler, 20, and Colin Warren, 20. Each was convicted of a misdemeanor battery after a jury made up of six men and six women were deadlocked as to whether the crimes could be considered ones of hate.
Although the boys were just convicted, the crimes actually took place back in 2013. According to reports made during this time, the three boys made Donald Williams Jr., who was 17-years-old at the time, wear a bike lock around his neck.
The Associated Press reported that Williams’ parents discovered the bullying when they made a visit to campus and noticed that he had a Confederate flag hung in his room and racist phrases written on his whiteboard.
The Confederate flag hanging in the room had belonged to Beaschler. According to Mercury News, he testified on Monday that the flag was only hung as a symbol of the states’ rights, and the racist phrases were just political satire.
The boys’ attorneys made the argument that the abuse against Williams was just an immature prank war that had gotten out of hand; however, former Judge LaDoris Cordell, who also heads San Jose University’s task force on racial discrimination, did not feel this was the case.
After the hearing, she stated that she was extremely upset that 12 jurors were unable to see that the things the three boys did to Williams were extremely abusive. None of the jurors on the case were black, and Cordell says that their verdict proves that Americans are a long way from living in a post-racist society.