Two arrested in racist attack on black student at University of Arizona

Protesters criticized what they said was campus police initially directing the two white assailants to a diversion program instead of facing charges.
In this Aug. 17, 2018, photo, families and students walk in front of Old Main along the University of Arizona Mall the week before classes start in Tucson, Ariz.
In this Aug. 17, 2018, photo, families and students walk in front of Old Main along the University of Arizona Mall the week before classes start in Tucson, Ariz.Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star via AP

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. — Several dozen students at the University of Arizona on Friday protested campus police handling of a physical and racist attack on a black student this week.

The protests took place less than an hour after the university announced that the two assailants, who are white, had been arrested and faced a misdemeanor count of assault.

The students, who haven't been identified, had initially been directed to a social justice diversion training program instead of facing charges in the Tuesday attack, according to the protesters.

University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins said in a statement Thursday that he was angered and disappointed by the incident.

"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 from violence, discrimination and hate, students will not be free to learn and pursue their dreams," Robbins said.

A police report released by the university's police department said officers were called to the front of the Arbol de la Vida residence hall about 11:20 p.m. Tuesday on a report that people were fighting.

The African American student told officers that two young white men called him the n-word and punched him in the head, the report says. The student suffered minor scrapes to his knuckles, right elbow and knee, according to the report.

The report says the officers, after talking to witnesses, found the men, who are students, who they suspect attacked the black student.

The officers said the men appeared intoxicated, according to the report. One of the men said he was trying to get his friend to stop fighting the African American student.

The men said they couldn't recall much more of what happened, the report said.

The student said he did not want to press charges against the attackers, according to the report.

This marks the second high-profile case involving a clash between students and campus police.

In April, the school came under pressure after police filed misdemeanor charges against three students involved in an on-campus protest of U.S. Border Patrol agents who were giving a presentation.

The case garnered national attention after the union that represents agents expressed anger about the students' conduct. The students were seen on video taunting two agents who had been asked to give a presentation to a criminal justice club on campus. They were then charged with misdemeanors, but the case was dismissed at the request of Pima County prosecutors and after several protests by fellow students and faculty.

At the protest on Friday, students were marching through campus chanting, "What do we want? Justice? When do we want it? Now."