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Saturday, November 15, 2008
Charged of harassing fellow hate crime victim, Quinnipiac expels Washington

Associated Press

HAMDEN, Conn. -- A black Quinnipiac University basketball player who was allegedly targeted in a racially motivated hate crime last month has been charged with harassing a fellow victim of that incident, according to Hamden police.

Harold Washington, 18, of Brandywine, Md., was charged Friday with intimidation based on bigotry and bias, harassment and breach of peace, police said.

He also was expelled from Quinnipiac and lost his scholarship, university officials said.

Police say Washington, a freshman guard on the basketball team, used the Facebook social networking site to anonymously harass one of the two other black players allegedly targeted in the first case.

Police say their investigation began in October when Washington and the other two black players reported receiving threatening and racially motivated telephone calls.

Washington's roommate, 18-year-old Charles Merritt of Clifton, Maine, was charged with three counts each of intimidation based on bigotry and bias, first-degree harassment and disorderly conduct.

Merritt, who is white, has been expelled from Quinnipiac. He has not yet entered a plea in the case.

While they were investigating the incident, police said, one of the other two victims told detectives that someone had accessed his Facebook home page and entered threatening and racially motivated comments.

Police did not disclose specifics of the comments, but say they arrested and charged Washington in connection with that incident after conducting extensive interviews and serving a search warrant.

Authorities say they are still trying to determine a motive.

Hamden Police Chief Thomas Wydra said that although Washington was a victim in the first incident, "his response was not to the person harassing him. His response was to a fellow victim, and that's what's disturbing to us.

"There's absolutely no room in our society for these types of crimes," he said.

Washington turned himself in and was released on $5,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear in Meriden Superior Court on Nov. 28.

Washington could not be reached Saturday, and information was not immediately available on whether he had an attorney.