"Ole Miss Police: White Male Freshmen Declining to be Questioned In Statue Incident" by Jackblog | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

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Ole Miss Police: White Male Freshmen Declining to be Questioned In Statue Incident

Verbatim statement just in from the University of Mississippi:

OXFORD, Miss. – Three 19-year-old white male freshmen from Georgia were declining through their attorneys late Thursday to be questioned by university police regarding the vandalism Sunday morning of the University of Mississippi’s James Meredith statue, according to the university chief of police, Calvin Sellers.

Sellers said the University Police Department (UPD) had gathered enough evidence by late Wednesday to bring charges through the student judicial process against two of the students, and both state and federal authorities were working in close coordination to determine whether criminal charges were applicable.

Working through an advisor to the students, university police had arranged a meeting for Thursday morning, Sellers said, but the students did not appear as promised. As university police were attempting to locate the two students late Thursday, they became aware of an Oxford attorney who was representing one of the students, which then led to information that three students had retained legal counsel.

Two of the students were those being sought by university police, but all three names had been prominent in the investigation, according to Sellers. He said the attorneys declined to make their clients available for questioning without an arrest warrant.

Sellers and University of Mississippi Chief of Staff and General Counsel Lee Tyner said they believe sufficient evidence exists to bring criminal charges against the suspects and pledged to provide whatever support is needed for state and federal authorities to issue warrants and pursue legal measures to the full extent of the law. The student judicial process would call on the students to respond but can proceed without their cooperation, Tyner said. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) does not permit the university to release the names of the students unless criminal charges are filed.

Sellers said the $25,000 reward offered by the university’s alumni association has been instrumental in bringing quick results in the investigation, generating numerous leads. Those with additional knowledge that may be helpful to the investigation and prosecution are encouraged to contact UPD at 662-915-7234.

Contact: PR Director Danny Blanton, 662-915-1678, dblanton@olemiss.edu

For more information about the University of Mississippi, visit http://news.olemiss.edu or sign up for our RSS feed at http://rebs.ms/umnewsrss. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter at http://rebs.ms/UMsocial.

Comments

js1976 3 years, 8 months ago

OK, so which is it? At one point Chief Sellers states they are cordinating with federal authorities to determine if charges are applicable, then he states there is enough evidence to bring criminal charges and pursue legal measures to the fullest extent of the law.

I'm sure the school has enough evidence to expel the students, but I still don't see any criminal wrongdoing. It appears that authorities may also have a difficult time identifying an actual crime commited.

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tomhead1978 3 years, 8 months ago

js1976, there are two Mississippi statutes they can use: malicious mischief and defacing government or schoolhouse property. Both are misdemeanor statutes. The incident is obviously an incident of racial intimidation and would be prosecutable on that basis, but Republicans and Dixiecrats have worked to make sure Mississippi doesn't adopt a racial intimidation statute and this is another instance where their hard work has paid off for them.

The FBI's involvement makes sense, even absent a meaningful state-level charge, to rule out a the domestic terrorism component.

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bubbat 3 years, 8 months ago

Tom- I posted both statutes last night, guess they got lost in lala land like a lot of post seem to around here but anyway. The statute for Malicious mischief deals with private property so that out. The other says defacing public , gov't, school property. The statue isn't nor was deface, it had a noose and a flag throw on it, takes what a minute to take that off and the statue is unharmed in anyway, seems to me it gonna be a stretch to charge them under it either. because not damage was done to the statue.

Didn't know you could read minds, Tom. That must be a handy talent. You have no idea if they did it with any intent to be racially intimidating or not, you want to be so, but you are assuming a lot there. Could be they just did it as a prank, thought it was funny pure in simple. Domestic terrorism geesh, you got to be nuts.

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tomhead1978 3 years, 8 months ago

Bubba, your lack of concern for the safety of Ole Miss' black student population is noted. For the rest of us, ruling out domestic terrorism made sense.

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bubbat 3 years, 8 months ago

Tom= Explain to me just how anyone was in danger from this prank?

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tomhead1978 3 years, 8 months ago

If somebody nooses a statue of a civil rights figure and runs off, that's potentially "just" a racist prank. But if somebody nooses a statue of a civil rights figure, throws a Confederate flag over him, and shouts racial epithets in the middle of campus, that's not a prank. It's either a threat or a dare. My suspicion is that it was the latter, but it makes sense to eliminate the former.

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repelpol 3 years, 8 months ago

Tom - At what point have you ever been to Ole Miss or Oxford? What makes you an expert on the student population or their fears and desires?

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tomhead1978 3 years, 8 months ago

One of the things I've found remarkable about the backlash to the media coverage of all this is the "you outsiders shouldn't comment on what goes on at Ole Miss" reaction I've seen from some of the less progressive white Ole Miss alumni. It runs counter to what most of the university leadership has done, and seems to be more representative of how the pre-Meredith leadership did things. I hope today's generation of students and administrators can move past that kind of attitude and embrace transparency and accountability, and I think there are many people in the university community who are trying to do that.

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tomhead1978 3 years, 8 months ago

And for folks who scoff: the SPLC identifies 36 active hate groups in Mississippi, more than a third in the northern part of the state. I'm glad the FBI took this seriously, and I sincerely hope it turns out to be a bizarre fraternity prank or something of that nature rather than a serious threat against the black student body.

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donnaladd 3 years, 8 months ago

I agree with that, Tom. It is very old-school Mississippi to whine about carpetbaggers and those that actually notice and talk about the racist problems that remain. It's remarkable to me that any educated person would complain about that in 2014.

And Ole Miss is a public institution. That makes it even more obvious why anybody can talk about anything that happens there, as well as other public institutions.

These complains are just weird and kinda creepy.

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tomhead1978 3 years, 8 months ago

Yes—very Old Mississippi. (And I was born here, never lived outside of the Jackson area, and to many of these folks I'm still a carpetbagger. Go figure.)

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js1976 3 years, 8 months ago

As I've stated several times, I doens't appear that charges will be sought by the district attorney. Like I've said many times, the property was not damaged and they were not trespassing. The fraternity has kicked them out, and I'm sure the university will soon follow.

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tomhead1978 3 years, 8 months ago

js1976, I'm less sure that the university will soon follow, but reckon we'll see.

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js1976 3 years, 8 months ago

We rarely agree Tom, but I'm quite certain this is the FIRST time you actually hope I'm right.

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