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Alleged hate crime case to wrap up in coming weeks

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The La Verne Police Department is close to closing the case on the hate crimes that rocked the University of La Verne campus last semester. 

LVPD Detective Robert Nishimura said the department will announce its findings in the next two to three weeks. 

The investigation is in regard to apparent hate crimes involving an online racist threat, an apparent arson in a student’s car, as well as a choking incident, that occurred on campus between March and May.

The incidents prompted the cancellation of classes and an effort to shift campus climate. 

The alleged hate crimes were apparently in response to multiple protests led by students at the University who referred to themselves as Decolonize ULV. They called on the University to address issues of diversity and cultural competency.

The threats were sent via an anonymous Instagram account and the arson apparently targeted one of the students named in the threat. 

In May, a student reported that as she was walking down the south stairwell in the Vista La Verne dormitory she was assaulted with a plastic bag over her head and a wire cord wrapped around her neck.

Alumna Jasmine Marchbanks-Owens, who was a member of DCULV, said members were still receiving online email threats in June and July. 

Nishimura said the department is tying together loose ends but have identified the suspects in the case.

“The people who did it know that we are aware and it should not happen again,” said Nishimura, who didn’t give an exact date for the upcoming announcement, expected via press release or press conference.

University spokesman Rod Leveque said the investigation remains a top priority for LVPD.

The University has been cooperating since the beginning and is in frequent contact with the LVPD regarding the case, he said. 

The University’s response to the findings will depend on who was found responsible, whether it is a student, faculty, staff member or community member, he added. 

—Layla Abbas, Jocelyn Arceo

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