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Word Crime: Two UConn Students Arrested For Saying Racial Slurs

Word Crime: Two UConn Students Arrested For Saying Racial Slurs

“charges could result in a $50 fine or up to 30 days in jail”

Two students from the University of Connecticut are currently under arrest because they used racial slurs. That may be tasteless and inappropriate, but at the end of the day, they’re just words.

These students were arrested for saying words.

They were walking through a parking lot and claimed they were playing a game by shouting vulgar words. Someone heard them and took a video.

Ben Kesslen reports at NBC News:

2 white UConn students arrested after video showed them shouting racial slurs

Two white students at the University of Connecticut were arrested Monday after video that showed them shouting racial slurs prompted campus protests, university police told NBC News.

Jarred Mitchell Karal, 21, and Ryan Gilman Mucaj, 21, face charges of ridicule on account of race, color, or creed. They were released with a court date set for Oct. 30 at Rockville Superior Court in Vernon, Connecticut.

Karal and Mucaj’s charges could result in a $50 fine or up to 30 days in jail.

NBC sent emails to the two men Tuesday morning requesting comment but did not immediately hear back.

Campus police learned of the incident from social media footage showing Karal and Mucaj shouting epithets in an apartment complex parking lot, a university spokesperson told NBC News. The men were playing a game that involved yelling vulgar words, university police said, and then started shouting epithets. Karal and Mucaj were walking with a third man, whom police said did not shout epithets and was not charged.

Jon Street of Campus Reform explains how the situation led to arrests:

The video prompted the UConn NAACP chapter to pen a letter to the editor of the campus newspaper, The Daily Campus, calling on officials “to fully investigate this incident and apply the proper justice.” Following those calls, the university confirmed to Campus Reform Monday that two of the three men allegedly seen in the video were arrested under a Connecticut state statute that makes it a crime to “ridicule” certain persons.

“Any person who, by his advertisement, ridicules or holds up to contempt any person or class of persons, on account of the creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality or race of such person or class of persons, shall be guilty of a class D misdemeanor,” the statute states.

In this short video report from WFSB News, you will see that this sparked campus protests and demands from student activists:

Adam Steinbaugh of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) provides background on the statute used to justify the arrest, and calls this unconstitutional:

The Connecticut statute is a rarely-enforced relic dating to 1917 and intended to address advertisements for businesses, not every use of derogatory language. There are scattered references to charges under the statute in news reports and legal databases, but no substantive analysis of the statute’s constitutional viability has been undertaken by any court, much less any appellate court.

Why is it rarely enforced? Because it is plainly unconstitutional. The use of racially-derogatory language — without more — is protected by the First Amendment.

This incident is just the latest example in a disturbing trend of criminalizing speech. Last month, New York made it illegal to use the term “illegal alien” in a derogatory manner. This week, a lawmaker in Massachusetts is proposing outlawing use of the word “bitch.”

How much longer are we going to tolerate this constant erosion of our rights?

Featured image via YouTube.

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Comments

I believe this is more than control of words. If the saying of certain things is prosecuted, the next step is to attempt to control thoughts. By not being able to say things, people will be deterred from thinking them.

    TX-rifraph in reply to Romey. | October 23, 2019 at 8:16 am

    “…more than control of words.”

    Yes. It is control of behavior. Once the process is in place, then you just adjust the substance dynamically. The fools who are outside of the inner circle support this subversion until the controls are turned on them. Just ask (if they could speak) many of the supporters of the French Revolution who lost their heads after a successful outcome.

    Stasi anyone?

    fscarn in reply to Romey. | October 23, 2019 at 8:52 am

    There’s a great opportunity here,

    ~ If the police don’t drop the charge and press on with the case,
    ~ If the two boys don’t cop a plea or make so sort of deal
    ~ If they get a competent 1A lawyer,

    Then there’s the chance that this hate speech nonsense can be put down with a clear ruling that the 1A protects words, expressed thoughts, that other might find disagreeable. In the end it’s only such words and thoughts which need 1A protection.

      Milhouse in reply to fscarn. | October 23, 2019 at 9:25 am

      There are already dozens of such rulings, undisputed, which is why the cops and DA involved have no qualified immunity.

Bitterlyclinging | October 23, 2019 at 7:48 am

Its Connecticut, sandwiched between the New York Times and the Boston Globe.
And what actually happened to the students who tried to whack Ann Coulter with a pie?
Double standard much?

Sticks and stones can break my bones/But words can get me busted.

I used to think that our would-be oligarchs were trying to turn this country into Mexico. Now I see they really have China in mind.

“a third man, whom police said did not shout epithets and was not charged.”

Who, not whom. Language idiots.

This is the pressure cooker being sealed just as water is heating up. There better be a safety valve…. The left is doing everything it can to stoke violence. So far, they have been allowed to skate. That won’t last We better have our team in charge by then.

News reports never say what the slur was. I remember an Indian slur story that had me casting about for an Indian slur. I didn’t know any. Maybe wampum-nose. You’ve got to create one.

    amwick in reply to rhhardin. | October 23, 2019 at 8:07 am

    The student chapter of the NAACP sent an open letter to administration with demands…

    I can guess what the word was.

      amatuerwrangler in reply to amwick. | October 23, 2019 at 11:08 am

      I am shocked that the NAACP is involved. Shocked, I tell you.

      The struggle for relevance in these trying time takes one in strange directions.

      Eskyman in reply to amwick. | October 23, 2019 at 8:37 pm

      You couldn’t be referring to the word that’s repeated hundreds of times in virtually every hip-hop and rap song, would you?

      The word that’s so wonderfully descriptive of the very people using it? The word that people like Chris Rock use to describe those who look similar to them, but act very differently?

      Why, I believe I know what that word is! And it’s an excellent word, which defines certain people exactly. No wonder they don’t like to hear it, since everyone knows that word is accurate!

    aka Hoss in reply to rhhardin. | October 23, 2019 at 10:03 am

    Was it macaca?

    MajorWood in reply to rhhardin. | October 23, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    The racial slur database (google it) contains pretty much every imaginable one, and then ten times as many more that are unimaginable.

    The big issue here is anyone getting the right to define a word, or even a gesture, out of existence. Is everyone OK with that, for example.

How does CT https://www.cga.ct.gov/2019/pub/chap_939.htm#sec_53-37 even exist?

I thought this type of law was clearly prohibited by the First Amendment.

Mike: How much longer are we going to tolerate this constant erosion of our rights?

Million dollar question.

    Milhouse in reply to amwick. | October 23, 2019 at 9:26 am

    See my comment below. It exists because it was enacted in 1917 and no prosecutor has ever been so foolish as to test it in court.

    drednicolson in reply to amwick. | October 23, 2019 at 1:43 pm

    In US courts, you can’t challenge a law’s constitutionality on a theoretical basis. You must first have a “flesh-and-blood” case.

    One prominent example was the line-item veto. It was unlikely to stand up to any court challenge, but no challenge could be made until it was exercised. So it stayed on the books for almost a decade until Bill Clinton tried using it, creating grounds for a flesh-and-blood case.

So … if ridiculing “certain people” can get you a fine and 30 days in the slammer, when can we expect the arrests of prominent Connecticut Democrats? Of is this a law that protects “certain people” but not “certain certain people”?

    Speech codes such as this are unequal applications of the law. That’s what makes them so horrible. Certain classes are ‘allowed’ to use the words, because that’s in ‘their vernacular’, see? Other classes of people are forbidden to use them.

For their defense they should tune into the local “urban” radio station. If the law does not apply universally, it is unjust and should be ignored.

    Massinsanity in reply to lc. | October 23, 2019 at 9:02 am

    I think story is being overblown. Like most states MA has a provision for constituents to file proposed legislation with their state representatives. I heard Rep Hunt on the radio today and he takes the position that he will file just about any constituent proposed legislation with the state legislature. He stated that in a typical year over 8,000 bills are filed statewide but only a couple of hundred ever get any consideration.

    He recognizes the proposed legislation is unconstitutional, he doesn’t personally support it but filed it at the request of a constituent.

    It would be interesting to see if he really does submit all constituent proposed legislation. I would like to see one of his constituents present a bill that declares life begins at conception and see how far it goes but he was pretty clear in stating that he does not believe it is his job to filter constituent proposed bills.

charges of ridicule on account of race, color, or creed.

This purported “law” is plainly, brazenly unconstitutional and unenforceable. The policemen who arrested them and the DA who charged them had a plain duty to know that, and therefore if the students sue them for violating their civil rights under color of law they will not have qualified immunity and could lose their houses and pensions.

That the “law” dates from 1917 goes a long way to explain this. 1917 was the era of the infamous Espionage Act of that year, which the Supreme Court upheld in its equally infamous — and now completely repudiated — decision in Schenck, which is where Holmes came up with his fatuous line that since “the most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man in falsely shouting fire in a theatre and causing a panic”, therefore it doesn’t protect people protesting conscription (or any other government policy) either.

Thankfully the Schenck prosecution could not happen today, and neither can this one. The first court to get a whiff of it will dismiss it, hopefully with sanctions.

I hereby call upon the UConn administration to investigate the UConn NAACP chapter for its continued use of a most hateful acronym. Specifically, the “CP” in “NAACP” stands for two words which, when used together, represent an archaic term for many people of African descent. The term, “colored people,” has been considered condescending, derogatory and hateful towards said people since at least the 1980s.

Now, don’t get me started on the subject of “people of color.” That’s just feel-good language legerdemain.

Last month, New York made it illegal to use the term “illegal alien” in a derogatory manner.

No, it did not. Despite hysterical headlines, this is fake news. It remains perfectly legal in NYC, as everywhere in the USA, to use any term one likes, in any manner one likes, except when it is used as a tool to harass ones employees, tenants, or customers in order to drive them away.

It is already illegal everywhere in the USA for an employer, a landlord, or a shopkeeper to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, national origin, etc, including verbally. You can call random Jews on the street “kike”, but if you start talking like that to your Jewish employees, because you resent having had to hire them and want to force them to quit, you will very quickly get in trouble. Not for your words themselves, but for the discrimination and harassment they are part of.

All NYC has done is make it clear that using “illegal alien” in the same way will be treated the same way. If you use it to abuse your employees, tenants, or customers you will be in trouble. You remain free to use it for any other purpose, including in employment, housing, and public accommodations; e.g.. you cannot get in trouble for merely making a factual observation that you suspect one of your employees is here illegally.

    rdmdawg in reply to Milhouse. | October 23, 2019 at 12:37 pm

    Businesses that fire other people for irrelevant qualities most often find themselves out of business entirely. Ain’t the free market great? More please.

      Milhouse in reply to rdmdawg. | October 23, 2019 at 3:01 pm

      Indeed it is. However, it is the case that firing people for certain characteristics provided by law, such as race, sex, and national origin, is against the law. Even those who disapprove of this law don’t doubt its validity. Nor does anyone dispute the validity of the courts’ view that harassing employees on the basis of their race, sex, etc., thus making their employment untenable, violates this law. There’s nothing astonishing about NYC extending this to suspected immigration status. (It is of course lawful to fire someone known to be here illegally, where federal law requires it; it is however not lawful to do so on mere suspicion, or to require more documentation than the law requires.

If they start putting people in jail for the use of the term “bitch” there will be a sharp spike in the female population of criminals.

Morning Sunshine | October 23, 2019 at 10:58 am

if the derogatory terms are against the law, then they need to be against the law for EVERYONE. no protected status about who can or cannot say them. And that means that any recorded music with those terms needs to also be destroyed.

I still feel that it is dastardly unfair for a certain(black) rap artist to record and make money “singing” but a bus load of (white) kids get doxed for singing along to a popular song.

I hope these boys get a really good firm to represent them, then sue the police and everyone else involved in this farce.

Anacleto Mitraglia | October 23, 2019 at 11:52 am

So, Hillary is a she-dog?

I sure hope the Vernon PD never sees this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9TS1pRmajU

The statute punishes speech that is not favored by another group of persons. Sorry, victims, protecting unfavorable speech is the whole purpose of the First Amendment.

Our freedoms are squarely under attack, one being the freedom to say offensive and/or stupid things. FIGHT this, then sue.

You have the constitutional right to be a repugnant ass but that is not what I think these idiots were doing . They were playing a game of who could say the worst think . that makes them immature ass’s but both are covered under the first amendment

This is what happens when you allow such idiocy as prosecuting “hate crimes”. What’s next, thought crimes? “Hate Crimes” is exactly like that. This ancient “law” runs counter to the First Amendment and this idiotic arrest will not stand in court. These men should sue the city and their police department for violation of their First Amendment rights and false arrest.

    Milhouse in reply to oldscribe. | October 24, 2019 at 11:05 am

    You seem not to understand what hate crimes are. They are not thought crimes. They are, before anything else, crimes. If there is no crime in the first place then by definition there cannot be a hate crime. Hate crime laws are just like any other sentence enhancement laws, of which there are dozens. There is no difference between hate crime laws and those requiring a sentencing enhancement when a crime involved the use of a firearm.

      caseoftheblues in reply to Milhouse. | October 26, 2019 at 12:36 pm

      Wow…you couldn’t be more wrong….they are hate crimes only because of what the person thought. And because of their thoughts receive longer harsher sentences. Hate crimes ARE thought crimes by definition.

        That is not what “thought crime” means. “Thought crime” means that the thought itself is a crime. When someone is convicted of a hate crime, his hatred is not a separate charge, and he is not convicted of or punished for it. He is convicted and punished only for his actions, but their severity is obviously affected by his motive. Deny that and you deny the entire basis of our criminal justice system throughout our history.

        How is a hate enhancement in sentencing different from a gun enhancement in sentencing? It isn’t.

Eugene Volokh gets to the substance.

“Any person who, by his advertisement, ridicules or holds up to contempt any person or class of persons, on account of the creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality or race of such person or class of persons, shall be guilty of a class D misdemeanor,” the statute states.

On the other hand, how much trouble would it be to find records of staff, faculty, and student leaders referring disparagingly to “whites,” “white males,” and “whiteness?” I’d guess a few minutes on Google and you’d have all the material you needed, and yet I can find no indication that anyone has been investigated or punished for that.

I don’t condone what they said (didn’t even look at it – don’t care), but this is a successful leftist pattern. Get someone charged for something they can point to as hate related and even if they do get it dropped or overturned somewhere down the road, they’ve had to spend a fortune in the process.

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