Penn State Case Included In ABC News Report On Connection Between Trump’s Rhetoric And Hate Crimes
Following President Donald Trump’s claims that he deserves “no blame” for instances of intolerance throughout the nation, ABC News released a report that identified 17 criminal cases in which Trump’s name was invoked in direct connection with violent acts, threats of violence, or allegations of assault.
One of those cases was a December 2015 incident that happened at Penn State.
The case involved then-Penn State student Nicholas Tavella, who was charged with ethnic intimidation after following another student of Indian decent home to Nittany Apartments, asking him if he was “going to rape a girl,” and threatening, “don’t make me put a bullet in your chest.”
Police reported that Tavella appeared intoxicated and he admitted that he “probably grabbed him” and “probably said something racist,” but did not remember because he had been drinking.
Tavella’s attorney argued that his client was motivated by “love of country,” not “hate,” and that Trump’s rhetoric following the Paris attacks weeks prior “may have incited fear of suspicious individuals.”
The ethnic intimidation charge against Tavella was initially dropped by Judge Allen Sinclair, but after an “error of law” was ruled months later, it was reinstated.
Tavella pleaded guilty to the felony charge and was sentenced to up to two years in prison.
ABC News claimed it was not able to find any similar cases of echoing presidential rhetoric from George Bush or Barack Obama in connection with hate crimes.
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