The students were identified as 21-year-olds Jarred Karal and Ryan Mucaj. They were both charged with ridicule on account of creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality or race, a misdemeanor which carries a maximum penalty up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $50, according to state law.
Video footage of the October 11 incident shows Karal and Mucaj walking through the parking lot of the Charter Oak Apartment complex. Citing a university spokesperson, NBC News reported that the duo were filmed playing a game in which they yelled out vulgar words.
— Matt Austin (@mattaustinTV) October 17, 2019
Although a third individual can be seen in the video, they were not detained after the campus police’s investigation revealed the unidentified man had not participated in the shouting match.
Affidavits obtained by the New York Times revealed that Mucaj acknowledged he had been drinking that night, but that he also did not recall using any racial slurs. Additionally, Karal said in his statement that he did not “believe that we had been shouting loud enough for other people to hear us.”
The arrests were made on the same day that students organized and held a demonstration on campus, demanding that school officials act on the incident. Also Monday, the university’s NAACP chapter issued a letter in the school newspaper condemning the behavior seen in the recording and displayed in a second incident which involved the school’s Delta Epsilon Psi fraternity.
“The use of hate speech is unacceptable. Such conduct should not be humored or pacified due to their age and supposed lack of consciousness,” reads the statement. “The actions made by the three individuals & alleged members of Delta Epsilon Psi are highlights of bigotry and the regurgitation of white supremacy.”
“Their language and disregard for the holistic existence of others must result in the rendering of proper disciplinary action(s). Therefore, we urge the University of Connecticut officials to fully investigate this incident and apply the proper justice,” it continues.
“The ready use of such language and rhetoric displays a lack of compassion, morality, and respect amongst the UCONN community.”
The letter includes a list of eight demands aimed at improving safety and creating a positive environment on campus.
Since the Monday arrest, Karal and Mucaj have been released from custody on their own recognizance. They are due to appear in court on October 30 at Connecticut’s Rockville Superior Court.