August 22, 2012

Report Details Victim’s Night of Collegetown Terror

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This article is based on a copy of a report provided to the Ithaca Police Department by a student who was allegedly attacked on Sunday. The student’s name has been changed to Ian to protect his identity.

Early Sunday morning at approximately 1:45 a.m., four friends were standing in the saturated streets of Collegetown when, unprovoked, an individual allegedly accosted them with verbal and physical abuse laden with sexual and racial epithets aimed at members of the gay and Asian communities, according to Ian’s report.

“‘You’re going to burn, Saigon bitch,’” the individual allegedly told a friend of Ian’s, whose statement to police has been obtained by The Sun, at one point during his reported attack. “‘Like napalm.’”

As recounted in his police statement, Ian’s harrowing ordeal went beyond repeated racial slurs.

“I was afraid for my life because this male was trying to harm me in any way that he could,” Ian states in the police report.

Ian’s account begins with him walking down Cook Street to meet three of his friends on Eddy Street. He reportedly saw an individual push one of his friends into a metal railing, so hard that his friend’s head hit the ground.

Ian then “realized that something was seriously wrong immediately,” his report states.

The group of students pleaded to the individual, “please don’t touch us. Leave us alone,” the report states.

Ian says that the individual continued his harassment even as a couple of people, assumed by Ian to be friends of the aggressor, attempted to restrain him. The assault reportedly continued as, according to Ian, the male individual continued to yell provocations and physically pushed the victims, at one point allegedly knocking a student over onto the sidewalk.The victims reported being confused and said they had never seen the individual before, according to the statement.The suspect’s provocations involved both sexual slurs, including a word commonly used to shame members of the LGBTQ community, and racial insults directed toward one of the victims.Following the yelling and pushing, the individual reportedly chased the group along Eddy Street. When the victims approached Catherine Street, they turned around to walk back on Eddy Street, and Ian called the police.Despite the ongoing violence, Ian states in the report that bystanders on the crowded street “were just watching, not helping” — either “in shock or just ignoring it.”As the victims made their way back on Eddy Street, the male individual “screamed to all of us, ‘I’m going to put you in a ditch,’ like he was insinuating that he was going to kill us,” Ian writes in the report. However, at this point, a number of people suspected to be the individual’s friends apparently restrained him and held him down while laughing, Ian says. When the victims started running toward a residence, the individual allegedly yelled, “‘Just keep prancing down the street. Walk away. Exactly,’” according to Ian.When the victims reached the residence, the aggressor reportedly tried to follow them inside but was restrained by a group of people suspected to be his friends, according to the report.Ithaca police then arrived on the scene. As they asked Ian whether he wanted to press charges against the suspect, the report states, Ian spotted the individual on Eddy Street and identified him to the officers as the man who had assaulted his friends.“I want to press any and all applicable charges,” Ian says in the statement.Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 and President David Skorton released a joint statement Monday condemning the alleged verbal and physical assault.Police arrested Anthony K. Stephans, who is not associated with the University, on four counts of aggravated harrassment in connection with an incident that occured early Sunday morning on the Eddy Street block of Collegetown. He allegedly physically and verbally harassed multiple victims, taunting them with racial slurs, IPD said. He will return to Ithaca City Court on Aug. 29 for further legal action.

In addition to Sunday’s attack, a student was reportedly hit by an egg and racial taunts from a passing SUV on Tuesday.

Original Author: Jinjoo Lee