Ethnic Intimidation Charge Dropped Against Penn State Student
Centre County District Judge Allen Sinclair dropped the ethnic intimidation charge against Penn State student Nicholas Tavella, who allegedly followed an Indian student home this weekend and threatened him because of his ethnicity.
According to police, Tavella followed fellow student Samjeris Victor home “because of his skin color”, grabbed his throat, and said, “don’t make me put a bullet in your chest.” Penn State Police Sargent Frank Ball said Tavella admitted to officers that “he probably grabbed the victim and probably said something racist” after he was arrested. Despite this, Tavella’s ethnic intimidation charges were dropped.
Wayne Bradburn, Tavella’s attorney, requested the court throw out the charge of ethnic intimidation, because it requires the defendant had “malicious intent.”
According to the Centre Daily Times, Bradburn cited “Paris attacks, which took place three days prior,” and that it may have been “his love of country,” and “Donald Trump rhetoric covered in the media that may have incited fear of suspicious individuals.”
According to Bradburn, Tavella “wasn’t motivated by hate. This was motivated by drunken stupidity.”
Tavella still faces seven misdemeanor charges of terroristic threats, simple assault, disorderly conduct, stalking, and summary offenses of harassment, public drunkenness and underage drinking, which will be discussed at his pre-conference trial scheduled for March 17.