John Greenwood '20 said the language he used "neither reflects my values nor who I am."

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

John Greenwood '20 said the language he used "neither reflects my values nor who I am."

September 20, 2017

Arrested Cornell Student Apologizes for ‘Unacceptable and Inappropriate’ Language

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John Greenwood ’20, the 19-year-old Cornell student charged with two misdemeanors following an altercation in Collegetown in which a black Cornell junior said he was punched and called the N-word, apologized on Wednesday for using “unacceptable and inappropriate language.”

In an email to The Sun and other media, Greenwood, who is white, said he accepts “full responsibility” for the language he used and apologizes “to my fellow students, the entire Cornell community and my family and friends.”

The language, which Greenwood did not specify in the email, “neither reflects my values nor who I am.” Greenwood’s attorney, Ray Schlather J.D. ’76, confirmed to The Sun that the emailed statement was from his client.

John Greenwood '20 was arrested for two misdemeanors following an altercation in Collegetown.

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John Greenwood ’20 was arrested for two misdemeanors following an altercation in Collegetown.

Greenwood did not reference any physical exchange or discuss the events further.

“In the fullness of time I am confident that the truth of what happened will be clear,” he said. “However, even a full exoneration cannot justify my use of such abhorrent language.”

The student who police identified as the victim — a Cornell junior and member of Kappa Sigma who spoke to The Sun on the condition of anonymity — said he was repeatedly punched in the face by a group of white men who yelled expletives at him and called him the N-word.

“I was pretty bloodied up,” he said.

The Ithaca Police Department, in documents filed in Ithaca City Court on Wednesday, quoted the victim as pointing out Greenwood and saying, “The guy in the red is definitely one of the guys that jumped me. I know for sure it was him.”

Schlather, the attorney, said in a statement on Tuesday night that Greenwood was “in no way involved in any physical altercation of any kind” and did not commit any crime.