GREENSBORO, North Carolina – Police have decided not to pursue their own charges in a racially tinged fight between several football players at a U.S. college and three Palestinian students.
A magistrate judge has charged six Guilford College players with misdemeanor assault and five of them with ethnic intimidation based on complaints the Palestinian students filed after the campus fight early Jan. 20. Greensboro police, who were not called to the scene, were not involved in those charges.
"We determined that all of the charges that need to be taken out in this case were already taken out at the magistrate's office," police spokesman Lt. Brian James said Wednesday, according to the News & Record of Greensboro. "We didn't obtain any further evidence that would allow us to pursue additional charges, which is what we were investigating."
Prosecutors said they would likely wait for a college investigation to play out before deciding how to proceed.
The accusers — Guilford College students Faris Khader and Osama Sabbah, and Omar Awartani, a student at North Carolina State University in Raleigh — said they were called "terrorists" and other racial slurs as they were beaten by several members of the school's football team, according to court documents.
Parents of three of the accused football players issued a statement last week defending their sons, saying one player was attacked with a belt.
College officials have launched their own investigation and planned to hold a judicial hearing with at least five of the involved students, including the accusers.
"The police have interviewed the three alleged victims, and my next step is reviewing that," prosecutor Howard Neumann said, according to the newspaper. "I don't think we're going to take any action until the school completes its process."