2 MU students arrested in cotton ball incident

Wednesday, March 3, 2010 | 9:16 a.m. CST; updated 10:23 a.m. CST, Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Zachary Tucker, left, and Sean Fitzgerald were arrested Tuesday night on suspicion of second-degree tampering.

COLUMBIA — An anonymous tip led to the arrest Tuesday night of two MU students in connection with last Friday's scattering of cotton balls in front of the MU's Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center.

Sean D. Fitzgerald, 19, and Zachary E. Tucker, 21, were arrested on suspicion of second-degree tampering. Police are pursuing the charge as a hate crime, making it a felony.

Statement by MU Chancellor Brady Deaton released Wednesday regarding the arrests:

Based on the information available to me, and in accordance with the University of Missouri’s Student Conduct Code (as outlined in the Collected Rules and Regulations, Chapter 200), I have determined it is in the best interest of the university community to temporarily suspend those students, Sean D. Fitzgerald and Zachary E. Tucker, who have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the incident that occurred on Feb. 26 at the front entrance of the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center, pending the outcome of the formal student conduct process. The Boone County Prosecutor will make a determination related to any criminal prosecution.

I commend MUPD Chief Jack Watring and his officers for their rapid and effective response during this difficult time. I also wish to thank the Legion of Black Collegians for the leadership they have demonstrated and to all those who attended and spoke out at LBC’s town hall meeting. My colleagues and I in the MU administration have listened carefully to all that was expressed and join all of you as we work together in support of our Mizzou family.

Brady J. Deaton




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clint fitzgerald March 5, 2010 | 10:18 p.m.
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joe donaldson March 7, 2010 | 1:56 a.m.

clint fitzgerald on March 5, 2010, 10:18 p.m. actually had the audacity to say that hate crime laws give cause to racism. in the same statement fitzgerald also said that hate crime laws serve "colored" people.
seriously. "colored" people? did this in-bred redneck idiot just land in a time machine from 1959, or where did he (or she) get the idea that anybody with an i.q. higher than room temperature uses the word "colored" when referring to other human beings?
and while we're at it, let's hear where fitzgerald gets the FACTS to support a theory that hate crimes give cause to racism. funny, i always a thought a lack of education did that without any help from forward-thinking hate crime laws.

(Report Comment)
joe donaldson March 7, 2010 | 1:59 a.m.

and by the way, for fitzgerald to call these sub-human dolts "young men" is a bit presumptuous. they are, after all, a LONG way from being "men" with this type of arrested development and infantile behavior.

(Report Comment)
Mitch Kelly March 7, 2010 | 9:36 a.m.

I agree with Clint Fitzgerald. Blacks often refer to themselves as "people of color", "women of color", etc... However, if a white man says "colored" when referring to a negro then its construed by blacks as a racial slur. Also, so called hate crimes legislation is applied only to whites.

Were the black murderers of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom in Knoxville, TN ever charged with hate crimes though race hatred was apparently their prime motivation?

I can't recall any incidence of a black being accused, let alone convicted, of hate crimes though blacks and hispanics commit the greater number of race based assaults based upon U.S. government stats.

White people need to stop apologizing to hyper-sensitive racial minorities and grow some spine like our forebears had.

(Report Comment)
beez beez March 8, 2010 | 4:03 p.m.
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Robert Reilly March 8, 2010 | 5:14 p.m.

N A A C P...
The National Association for the Advancement of COLORED People.
No offense intended but this is the name of the organization chosen by this group.

(Report Comment)
clancy cronin March 8, 2010 | 7:20 p.m.

This is from 2007 FBI Data

Murder rate per 100K 79 blacks killing blacks (M&F)
17 blacks killing whites
34 whites killing whites
1.1 whites killing blacks

This data includes police and victims defending themselves.

(Report Comment)
Anna Perez March 8, 2010 | 8:34 p.m.

Hate crime legislation is a violation of the first amendment and basically tries to make certain thoughts illegal. If you murder someone, chances are you hate them, who cares why you hate them. The charge and punishment for the murder should fit the level of crime of that murder and you should not face double jeopardy based on your thoughts.

Joe Donaldson, us white folks are getting really sick and tired of people like you. We don't have to be racist to finally be sick and tired of everything we say being construed as racist. Blacks are the one who took offense to the N word, which was nothing more than any other vocabulary word that referred to people by the color of their skin, just as whites are referred to as white, or even caucasian, when most of us do not come from the Caucasus Mountains. Then every decade or so, negros decide they are offended by whatever else they are called, based on their decision to be called it. They haven't changed the names of their organizations, yet they are offended at being called Colored, Negro, Black, Nubian, and whatever else they have been called. As for the term African American, that offends ME! If they want to cling to the name African, then they should feel free to move back to Africa, otherwise stick with American.

I can't tell you how tired I am of having to walk on egg shells in order not to offend colored people. It's perfectly legitimate to be a racist as long as it means giving blacks something they don't deserve via affirmative action. Let's see how long a Congressional White Caucus would last. How about a United White College Fund. Blacks keep on trying as hard as they can to give white people GOOD reason to be fed up and start hating them. The Chinese were slaves too and as a race you don't see them sitting around complaining and sponging off of government handouts.

(Report Comment)
Anna Perez March 8, 2010 | 8:54 p.m.

Another thing Joe Donaldson, you should reserve the name calling, such as the word "inbred" for AFTER you have passed a second grade English class. No one sounds more stupid than the person who can't use capital letters or punctuation when they insult the intelligence of others.

(Report Comment)
don devan March 8, 2010 | 10:14 p.m.

Hundreds of thousands of federal govt. employees - including Charlie Rangle and Tim (Sec. of Treas.) Geitner - fail to pay their taxes and nothing is done. But drop a few cotton balls and all hell breaks lose. This nation is upside down and inside out. Meanwhile Dan Rather says Obama can't even sell watermelons successfully. And will HE be arrested? Don't hold your politically correct OJ "justice" system breath.

(Report Comment)
Ted Roberts March 8, 2010 | 10:15 p.m.

Charging them with a "hate crime," making them felons!?!? Are you kidding me? They're COLLEGE students. One's 19 and the other 21. Lots of people do dumb things when they're in college. To charge these two with a "hate crime" and turn this minor incident into a felony is a joke. Isn't it ironic that we've come so short in fulfilling MLK's dream of a "colorblind society." It seems that in today's society, race matters more than ever. Let these two students go and return to their classrooms so they can learn. They made a mistake!!!! So be it. Let them LEARN from it and move on. Isn't that what college is all about? Don't ruin their lives over it.

(Report Comment)
Tom Dennen March 8, 2010 | 11:42 p.m.

Petty, petty, petty.

There are some serious psychopaths running around - mostly in government - doing a lot worse than making cotton ball comment.

Go get 'em, homies!

(Report Comment)
Paul Hinds March 8, 2010 | 11:50 p.m.

Just looking for directions here. Can someone point me in the direction of the MU White Culture Center please?

Thank you.

(Report Comment)
RJ Perry March 9, 2010 | 12:19 a.m.

Charge them with misconduct or Stupidity. Not a hate crime. Clearly their BAD HAIRCUTS are punishment enough.

(Report Comment)
Freemon Sandlewould March 9, 2010 | 12:26 a.m.

Could this not be considered an art project with implications for free speech?

(Report Comment)
Dave Dadowski March 9, 2010 | 1:01 a.m.

Hey Joe Donaldson, if da Timbalands fit... well sheeeeeit den my brutha!!!

Just let me know when you can find it in the article where it mentions that the three suspects accused in the beating are black, African-American, colored, or otherwise. Nor does it mention the others that were also savagely beaten in the same incident by this suspects.

It only mentions the dead student as white, as if it were a crime. This kid was jumped. These black murderers waited in a driveway for the white kid to finish walking down the street and jumped them. Any mention of a hate crime in this article? It never works both ways, never. Get a clue. The cotton ball students are guilty of extremely poor judgment. But, a hate crime? No.

Autopsy but no findings yet in Kent State student's off-campus beating

By Associated Press

4:46 PM EST, February 22, 2010
KENT, Ohio (AP) — An autopsy has been done in the death of a Kent State University graduate student who died after an off-campus beating last month.

The Summit County medical examiner's office says findings must await health records, police reports and lab tests in the death of 28-year-old John White of Delaware, Ohio, near Columbus. He died Sunday at Akron City Hospital and the autopsy was done Monday.

One man has been charged with felonious assault and a second has been charged with misdemeanor assault and obstructing official business in the alleged attack.

The victim was the second Kent State student in three months to die from beating injuries suffered in downtown Kent. Two men have been charged in the death of 23-year-old Christopher Kernich of Fairborn, near Dayton.


Information from: Record-Courier,

(Report Comment)
Ken Weaver March 9, 2010 | 1:36 a.m.

Once you get past your outrage (whether faux or real) this is A PRANK! Not gunning somebody down or dragging them through the street. It's a PRANK people. Nothing more and nothing less. If you Rednecks can stop being so angry for a second you might see that. Yes I called YOU rednecks for your overreaction to this.
It's a bunch of cotton balls. On the ground. It's a prank.
Let it sink in for a second and stop reacting like a bunch of REDNECKS!
Thought police ring any bells?

(Report Comment)
K. Daniels March 9, 2010 | 2:57 a.m.
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J Blake March 9, 2010 | 3:33 a.m.
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ur momma March 9, 2010 | 5:03 a.m.
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David Mann March 9, 2010 | 6:11 a.m.

How about just going back to segregation? I'm serious. I'm old enough to remember it and thought it was wrong. Now, no matter what non-blacks do, blacks, or at least their leaders, get all hands-on-hips and get their dudgeon up so high you need to pipe oxygen to it.

So, let's just part ways and call it a day. You already hate everything about non-blacks except for the money taken from us by force of the badges and guns of government. It's transfered from the productive to you in the form of either welfare or government make-work jobs.
Best of all: non-blacks will not have to walk on eggshells in order not to be arrested or otherwise branded because your delicate feelings are hurt.

Blacks SHOULD be among themselves and develop their own communities and schools without the rest of us interfering. You already have at least three communities that are pretty much yours; take them and run with them. See what you can do on your own. Detroit, Gary, and East St Louis are all yours already.

(Report Comment)
Michael Scott March 9, 2010 | 6:18 a.m.
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clint fitzgerald March 9, 2010 | 6:09 p.m.

My Free speech was abridged in this forum after i made the remark "Hate speech laws give cause to racism." Although only my opinion, it stands with reason that hate crimes are only applied to whites. I referred to blacks as "colored" as well which seems to be something my critic who freely describes me as an "inbred redneck idiot" should take up with the NAACP. My comments were not attacks on people of color and should not have been removed from this forum regardless of whose hypersensitive feelings were injured when having their name called out.


(Report Comment)
Jay Jiggy March 9, 2010 | 7:06 p.m.
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Monique Mendoza March 11, 2010 | 9:50 p.m.

I can tell you why there is no White Culture Center on the MU campus. It's because the campus itself is the White Culture Center. How many years did I spend there - and don't get me wrong, I quite enjoyed my time at MU - and a majority of my classmates were White. The people I passed - White. The people I later taught? White.

Now before someone purposely misconstrues what I'm saying to 'Oh she hates Whites,' let me spell it out for you. Whitneness isn't a problem. Whiteness is nature. I'm physically White too. Where the problem lies is not within Whiteness, but within the ignorance of a privileged majority. Do you know why we have Latino heritage month? Well, if you can list to me all the literature classes you've taken and then list all the Latino writers you've read, then maybe you'll see why. When I walk by a class in MO or in CA or in any other state and all a student can say about a great figure like MLK is that he had a dream, it's shameful.

We give a lot to our communities. We love our communities and we want to see ourselves represented in them. That is why there is a Black Culture Center. That is why we have an LGBTQ Center. That is why there are resources on campus at a Women's Center. It's because our community is diverse and our colleges need to reflect that.

And I also want to say that MLK's dream did not in fact involve a colourblind society. I think it was Dr. Leary who said that what she certainly did not want as a Black woman was to be erased. I see myself in the mirror every day. I can see the colour of my mother's skin - much darker than mine - when I see her. There is no ignoring that nor is there a need to.

What there IS a need for is discussion, understanding, opening up, and working to create an inclusive community where people do not alienate, intimidate, or hurt one another.

(Report Comment)
Dawn Tucker November 3, 2010 | 2:02 p.m.

To me, this seems a little ridiculous. Like, "Holy **** cotton balls!" Really?

(Report Comment)

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