Early Saturday, an altercation took place near Boulder's Hookah House, at 1325 Broadway. And Boulder Police believe what took place constitutes a racially motivated crime -- hence, the accusations against Lafayette's Joseph Owen Coy, who's said to have called CU student Olubiyi Ogundipe and a friend "monkeys" and other racial slurs before graduating to punching Ogundipe in the face.
City of Boulder spokeswoman Sarah Huntley shares the details.
"Police responded around 2:30 on Saturday morning to Broadway and Pleasant streets on a report that a Nigerian CU student and a friend had been walking in the area when a group of three men began using racially charged language and antagonizing them," she says. "After several minutes of this type of language being used, the victim in the case turned around and verbally confronted the men behind them.
"My understanding is that he said something to the effect of, 'Why don't you give the land back to the Indians?' -- that in response to some questions the suspects had been levying toward the victim along the lines of why didn't they go back to their country of origin. Clearly, there was a heated exchange between both groups. But the suspects didn't stop at a verbal exchange. According to the allegation, at least one of the men began punching the victim in the face and knocked him to the ground -- and continued to assault him until a CU police officer who happened to see the altercation and pulled over to intervene."
The officer was able to run down Coy, 22, after a short foot chase. But his two companions -- both described as white males between eighteen and twenty -- managed to escape. At this writing, they remain at large, but Huntley hints that police may be able to issue an additional release soon updating the search.
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In the meantime, Huntley says "Mr. Coy's been booked into jail on charges of bias-motivated crime," which ups the ante on the fisticuffs. As she explains, "third-degree assault is a misdemeanor, but when it's rolled into a bias-motivated crime, it becomes a felony." Coy's also accused of obstruction, for running from the CU police officer when he was told to stop.
At this point, Huntley says charges against the other two individuals "will really depend on what level of involvement they were believed to have in the incident." To that end, representatives of the BPD have spoken to other witnesses in addition to the CU police officer.
No word as to whether they'd been visiting the Hookah House. Page down to read the latest BPD release on the crime:
Police investigate bias-motivated assault; one suspect in custody
Boulder police are investigating a bias-motivated assault that occurred at 2:28 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 18, at Broadway and Pleasant Street. One suspect is in custody. Police are seeking two other men who were with him at the time of the incident.
A 19-year-old CU student from Nigeria was walking with a 23-year-old friend, who is also from Nigeria, when they heard voices behind them. The suspects used the n-word, called the victims monkeys and told them to go back to their country of origin. The victim, identified as Olubiyi Ogundipe, turned around and confronted the suspects verbally. The suspect who is now in custody began punching the victim in the face, with one blow knocking him to the ground.
A CU police officer who was driving by witnessed the altercation, pulled over and tried to intervene. The suspects fled. The officer ran after one suspect and arrested him after a short foot pursuit. That suspect has been identified as Joseph Owen Coy, 22, of Lafayette.
Coy was booked into the Boulder County Jail on charges of bias-motivated crime, which is a felony, and obstruction.
Police are looking for another suspect, a smaller white male, 18 to 20. They would also like to speak with another white male who was with the suspects. His role remains unclear.
The victim was taken to the hospital, where he was treated for lacerations. Doctors have indicated he did not sustain serious bodily injury.
Anyone with information about this crime is asked to contact Sgt. Tom Trujillo at 303-441-3338. Those who have information but wish to remain anonymous may contact the Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or 1-800-444-3776. Tips can also be submitted via the Crime Stoppers website at www.crimeshurt.com. Those submitting tips through Crime Stoppers that lead to the arrest and filing of charges on a suspect(s) may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000 from Crime Stoppers.