Three students at San Jose State University have been charged with misdemeanor hate crimes and battery after being accused of tormenting a black roommate.
University police announced on Wednesday that arrest warrants were being issued for 18-year-old freshmen students Colin Warren, Joseph Bomgardner and Logan Beaschler. According to police, the three students hazed a fellow student while they were all living in an eight-person suite between Aug. 20 and Oct. 13.
The San Jose Mercury News reported that the victim’s parents first suspected that something was wrong with the living situation in mid-October when they noticed a Confederate flag covering a cardboard cutout of Elvis in the dorm room. They also reported to campus police that they had seen the N-word scrawled on a dry-erase board.
Police reports indicated that the students gave their 17-year-old victim the nicknames of “Three-fifth” and “Fraction,” referring to the way the original U.S. Constitution treated slaves as part of a person.
At one point, the victim allegedly had a “U” shaped bike lock placed around his neck and was not set free for as long as 10 minutes. A struggle occurred after the suspects tried to place the victim in the bike lock again and bruised his lip.
Investigators found anti-Semitic items in the dorm room, including a photo of Adolf Hitler and a swastika. There was a pentagram on one wall that was used to offend the victim because he was a Christian, police said.
“He was targeted because he was different, because he was black,” Deputy District Attorney Erin West said on Wednesday.
Watch this video from KGO, broadcast Nov. 12, 2013.