Update: At first blush, a bias-motivated crime allegation seemed like a real stretch in the case of CU student Thomas Frank Ross -- and at second and third blush, too. But while the Boulder District Attorney's Office has decided against leveling this charge against Ross, he's not off the hook when it comes to an incident during which he's said to have broken the nose of a half-Chinese schoolmate.
As you'll recall, Christopher Tetreault, eighteen, told police that Ross had previously needled him for his ancestry -- which presumably motivated his anger when Ross blamed him for stinking up a dorm room with the smell from Asian noodles. Tetreault cursed, prompting Ross to punch (and break) his nose.
Was this action motivated by racism? Not according to the DA's office, which reportedly determined that two counts of second-degree assault were more appropriate.
Clearly, the folks there used their noodles. Look below for our earlier coverage.
Original item, 12:38 p.m. October 4: How does a food fight result in a bias-motivated crime charge?
When the food is Asian and the alleged victim is half-Asian. Or at least that's the way it worked out for Thomas Frank Ross, a nineteen-year-old CU-Boulder student.
According to the Boulder Daily Camera, Ross, a freshman at CU, lives in Buckingham Hall, as does Christopher Tetreault, eighteen. The two of them reportedly wound up in the room of a third student along with a large group playing video games.
In the midst of this merriment, Ross allegedly blamed Tetreault for the room's foul stench, owing to how he "eats all those Asian noodles."
This wasn't the first time Ross had insulted his ancestry, the part-Chinese Tetreault told police. And as a result, he lost it, cursing at him.
Ross's response? He allegedly punched and choked Tetreault, breaking his nose in the process.
For his part, Tetreault admits to tossing a Monster energy drink in Ross's direction, but he says he only did so after Ross had made monstrous moves of his own.
Not true, Ross insists. He says Tetreault threw the drink first, prompting the fisticuffs. Besides, he told officers, Tetreault had previously insulted his Jewish background. And besides, he didn't know Tetreault was of Asian descent.
Two different bodies will attempt to sort out this ruckus. The CU-Boulder police busted Ross on suspicion of second-degree assault and bias-motivated crime; a hearing is slated for tomorrow. Meanwhile, Ross will face potential discipline from CU's Office of Student Conduct.
Could all of this brouhaha have been avoided had the video-game crowd simply ordered pizza instead? Maybe not.
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Look below to see a larger version of Ross's mug shot.