American University Release Video; Person of Interest in Racial Hate Crime

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– American University in Washington D.C. releases surveillance video of a person of interest in a racially motivated hate crime.

Pat Warren reports, it follows the election of a sorority member as student government president.

The school’s president calls it a cowardly and despicable act.

A student demonstration at the school was held after students found bananas hanging from nooses in three locations on campus Tuesday morning.

The letters AKA, for the African American Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority and Harambe, the name of a gorilla, were written on the bananas.

Campus police released video of a person of interest in the crime. The video was enhanced due to low light levels so the quality is poor, but additional video may soon be released.

“I just think it’s incredibly wrong and I don’t think enough’s being done about it,” one student said.

“We’re supposed to be a safe place, a place for people to learn, this isn’t a place for people to feel threatened in any way shape or form,” another student said.

AU president Neil Kerwin calls it an act of bigotry, stating:

We strongly condemn what happened; will do all we can to find those responsible.

The incident occurred after students elected the first African American woman student government president.

There are concerns that the university isn’t doing enough about racism on campus, so students marched carrying applications for dismissal and chanting “black lives matter.”

A meeting is planned with the chief academic affairs officer.

“And he guaranteed me that with his word and we shook hands. And if you know business, shaking hands is just as good as signing a contract. So we will have that meeting and we bring black students with us and we will bring solutions to this problem of racism on our campus,” said one protestor.

Both campus police and the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department are investigating.

A campus community meeting was also held Wednesday, and the Eagle Student Newspaper reports it was packed.

This is not the first time bananas have been used in racial intimidation on campus. Another incident occurred in September.

Police are offering a reward of $1,000 for anyone who can provide information leading to an arrest.

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