Report for racially-charged assault released with alleged assailants’ names
A UA Police Car sits just off of Park Ave. on Oct. 1, 2015.
Edit: An earlier version of this article stated that Frazier and Rawlings were both students in the Eller College of Management.This article has been updated for accuracy.
The case report for Tuesday’s reported assault of a black student identified the alleged assailants as University of Arizona students Matthew Frazier and Matthew Rawlings, who are both white. Frazier is a business economic student and Rawlings is a pre-business student. The report was released Friday evening.
The report confirms reported details such as the alleged assailants being white and initially being referred to the UA Diversion Program. The report also said that a Hate Crimes Reporting guidelines worksheet was completed the night of the assault.
The initial incident report recounted the night of the assault. UAPD officers were initially sent to Árbol de la Vida Residence Hall to investigate a “fight in progress" at approximately 11:24 p.m. on Tuesday night.
Once there, officers spoke with the victim, whose name has not been released to protect his privacy. He told officers that he and another student had been walking up the street in front of Árbol de la Vida when Frazier and Rawlings, who were walking towards him, began to call him “the n-word,” according to the report.
According to the victim, one of the men, later revealed to be Frazier, attacked him by jumping on and knocking him to the ground. Then, Rawlings allegedly began to kick him while Frazier allegedly punched the victim in the head “like five times,” the victim said. Why the assailants eventually stopped and left was not specified.
The victim received scrapes on his right knuckles, elbow and knee and did not accept medical assistance, according to the report. He also told officers that he did not want to pursue criminal charges against the men.
In his initial interview with police, the victim said that he did not know if the attack was racially motivated, though he did say he was upset over the use of the racial slur.
In a follow-up interview the next afternoon with UAPD Officer Michelle Kahn, who wrote that she has “training and experience with victims of trauma” in her report, the victim reportedly said that he “freaks out” when people use that particular racial slur. He also reportedly said that in 2019, no one should be using that word, particularly white men. He also said that the incident had been replaying in his head since it happened.
Two witnesses were also interviewed on Tuesday night. The person who had been walking with the victim confirmed the victim’s story, including the alleged assailants’ use of racial slurs. The second witness’s recollection of the assault also matched the victim’s account.
According to the report, on the night of the assault, officers checked out a nearby house that they were told the assailants ran into. When officers knocked on the door, Frazier answered it. He reportedly had fresh blood on his shirt and smelled like alcohol. An officer detained and handcuffed him.
Frazier told the officer that Rawlings was still inside. He came out and was handcuffed as well.
In their interview, Frazier told the officer that he had not left his house that night. When questioned about the scrapes on his arms, Frazier denied having them. He said he did not know where the blood on his shirt had come from. The officer noted that he seemed intoxicated.
A witness identified him as one of the people involved in the fight. The officer ultimately filed a Student Code of Conduct violation for Frazier.
Another officer interviewed Rawlings, who said that he and the intoxicated Frazier had been walking when the student began yelling at him and Frazier. After the student and Frazier were knocked to the ground, Rawlings said he was kicking Frazier to get him to stop. Upon further questioning, he admitted he was not sure who exactly he was kicking or who threw the first punch.
Rawlings admitted to drinking alcohol that night. The officer confirmed that the victim did not want to press charges and the officer referred him to the UA Diversion Program.
Frazier and Rawlings were ultimately arrested by UAPD officers Friday morning at around 11 a.m. They were taken to Pima County Jail where they were charged with one count of class 1 misdemeanor assault each.
The public first became aware of the incident after a statement from the Black Student Union giving the initial details of the assault circulated on social media. President Dr. Robert C. Robbins, the Associated Students of the University of Arizona, the UA Honors College and the Immigrant Student Resource Center all released statements admonishing the assault and calling for more inclusivity and tolerance.
The BSU held a protest on Friday afternoon calling for UAPD to be held accountable for the way they initially handled the situation.
Follow Vanessa Ontiveros on Twitter