A student at the University of Vermont can breathe a little easier after a judge ruled in his favor. Wesley Richter had been accused of “explicitly racist and threatening language” against both black students at the school and the school’s diversity initiatives.
The judge dismissed the case after two months of review, citing a lack of probable cause.
Chittenden County State’s Attorney Sarah George told WCAX: “It is what it is. We put our best case forward. The judge looked at the law. We see it differently, but that’s what the process is for.”
When asked if she still thinks she should have filed charges, George responded: “What we allege he did, we still allege he did. It just didn’t rise to the level of a hate crime.”
This case should never have been prosecuted.
Richter was apparently having a phone conversation in the library multimedia room with his mother when he made the statement, one that hasn’t been released to the public. There were allegedly three witnesses. One reported it. Of the other two, one refused to cooperate with investigators and the other said the comments didn’t happen.
How could that possibly be considered sufficient evidence to file charges? How?
But this is life on the modern American college campus.
Richter is accused of saying something racist and threatening — nevermind that entire courses of study these days advocate against “whiteness” and promote anarchy — and that was grounds for not just the school, but the state’s attorney to get involved. This should never have happened.
Attorney Ben Luna, who represented Richter, said: “This opinion is a victory for the First Amendment. This opinion is a victory for free speech on university campuses. … The University of Vermont, the University of Vermont Police Dept., and the Chittenden State’s Attorney’s Office all over-extended their constitutional power in this case in bringing this charge against my client.”
Unfortunately, that’s not surprising these days.