Authorities have arrested a 28-year-old student at Oregon State University for the felony of a hate crime. Andrew Oswalt was taken into custody following his hearing and is now facing 40 days in jail for putting what is described as offensive stickers on the cars of members of a racial justice group at the university, reports SF Gate. Andrew Oswalt is a doctoral student of chemistry at Oregon State University.
The defendant’s attorney, Nicolas Ortiz, has stepped forward previously, citing that Oswalt will be attempting an appeal. Meanwhile, the police are stating that they believe Oswalt is not the only one who was involved in the felony action. Authorities are claiming that Oswalt had an accomplice when the bumper stickers, featuring a racial slur about African-Americans, were placed on the two cars at the Corvallis food co-op in June 2017.
In court, his attorney argued that the prosecution had failed to prove fully if Oswalt had indeed placed the bumper stickers. He also stated that the state of Oregon had not proven Oswalt even knew about the attendees of the meeting. Having not known, his attorney claimed, Oswalt could not possibly have been targeting them over their race or religion. For the intimidation statute to apply, this intent would have had to occur, claimed Oswalt’s attorney. However, surveillance footage at the parking lot has identified, 28-year-old Andrew Oswalt.
The alleged targets are members of the Corvallis chapter of Showing Up For Racial Justice. The day that the bumper stickers were placed on the vehicles, the group had been participating in a meeting to discuss issues such as ways to combat white supremacy and any other groups promoting bigotry and racism. While attending the meeting, the stickers were placed on their vehicles, and an employee also stated that anti-Semitic leaflets were found on the windshields of cars in the staff parking lot during that same meeting.
Even though authorities did in fact search Oswalt’s residence, they have yet to identify a second suspect. During the initial search, the police did locate matching bumper stickers and flyers, reports state.
Reports also state that during the hearing, Oswalt attempted to offer to volunteer for local organizations or schools rather than serve out any jail time. However, he was slapped with the 40 days, despite his and his attorney’s best efforts to claim jail should be reserved specifically for those who are a danger to the community. They argued that Oswalt was not a danger.