Police: ‘No evidence of a racially motivated criminal act’ during hazing incident at Abilene Christian University

Crime

An Abilene Christian University fraternity has been suspended after an investigation into a hazing incident.

ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The investigation into a ‘disturbing video’ shot during a Abilene Christian University fraternity’s event has concluded with no findings of racial violence, but the incident is a confirmed hazing violation.

ACU President Phil Schubert provided an update on the investigation Tuesday, saying the incident occurred during a Galaxy fraternity rush event September 20.

Schubert goes on to describe the short video, which he says shows, “a video of a Black student being repeatedly struck with paintballs – across all parts of his body including the groin area.”

An subsequent investigation into the video revealed multiple fraternity members were also shot and no one interviewed, including those directly shot, claimed they were being victimized because of their race.

This incident has been deemed hazing but investigators do not believe it was racially motivated or that any criminal activity was involved, so punishment will be dealt with according to university policy.

Read the full findings from ACU’s investigation below:

On September 24, 2021, the Abilene Christian University Police Department became aware of a possible hazing incident that occurred off campus involving members associated with the Galaxy men’s fraternity. A video of a Black student being repeatedly struck with paintballs – across all parts of his body including the groin area – during the event was obtained by ACU administration. Once a copy of the video was received, ACUPD immediately launched an investigation.

Galaxy members requested and received permission to host a prospective member rush on September 20, which included an approved paintball game activity. During the event, members of the fraternity invited prospective members in attendance to shoot them as they stood in a line in front of the prospective members. Members were struck multiple times – across all parts of their bodies including the groin area – by paintballs fired from a paintball gun operated by prospective members attending the event. Additional video footage obtained during the investigation shows multiple fraternity members being struck with paintballs by prospective members in at least three separate shooting rounds during the event. Subsequent to this activity, an additional fraternity member arrived late to the event and opted to join in and allow prospective members to shoot paintballs at him. Members who were previously hit by paintballs chose to stand with him as well. This is the point at which the video publicly distributed was recorded. All individuals struck with paintballs in this manner were current members of the fraternity. No prospective members were struck with paintballs in this manner. No attendees required medical attention for injuries sustained during this event.

Interviews conducted by ACUPD during the investigation included multiple individuals depicted in the videos, the makers of the videos, and numerous prospective members who attended the event. All interviewees were consistent in describing the events. No individual interviewed, including those struck repeatedly with paintballs, suggested any element of racial violence. All individuals interviewed who were struck by paintballs repeatedly confirmed they chose to do so voluntarily.

ACUPD has concluded its investigation and found there was no evidence of a racially motivated criminal act. A hazing violation was confirmed and will be handled in accordance with university procedures.

University officials will be circulating and promoting more information on diversity in response to this incident.

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