DA: Noose on football field not legally a hate crime

For The Recorder
Published: 10/5/2017 12:10:17 PM

AMHERST — No criminal charges will be filed against the two youths who allegedly created a noose on Amherst College’s football field last month, according to the Northwestern district attorney’s office.

Mary Carey, spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office, said in a statement that the decision comes following a request from Amherst College Police to review all reports and evidence gathered in the case.

“After doing so, and reviewing all applicable statutes and case law, we have concluded that the incident, although highly offensive, does not legally constitute a hate crime,” Carey said. “No criminal charges are being sought against either of the two juveniles responsible for the incident.”

On Sept. 7, Amherst College Police Chief John Carter sent an email to students, faculty and staff alerting them that a rope used for athletic training was found tied into a noose. The incident occurred between 6 p.m. on Sept. 4 and 6 a.m. the following morning.

Hundreds of Amherst College students gathered on campus Sept. 12 in opposition to racism following the incident.

Amherst College President Carolyn “Biddy” Martin, in a statement issued Wednesday, said even though the youths are not affiliated with the college, the request was made to have the district attorney’s office investigate.

“We respect the DA’s decision,” Martin said. “The outcome does not change the fact that the incident was deeply offensive, anxiety-producing, and painful. We will not tolerate acts of racist bigotry on our campus.”

The youths have been issued trespass notices to stay off campus, Martin said in an earlier letter issued to the college community.

“The college is issuing no-trespass orders and they will be barred from setting foot on campus,” Martin wrote.

Martin added in that letter that the noose incident is not isolated from other experiences of prejudice and discrimination students of color face.

“I see this moment as an opportunity to dedicate ourselves more concertedly and creatively to fighting bigotry and discrimination and to creating the inclusive intellectual community that every student at Amherst is promised,” Martin wrote.


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