The NYPD Racial and Ethnically Motivated Extremism unit is looking into an incident linking the "viciously racist" harassment of Columbia University staff and faculty and the death of a student.
According to Buzzfeed, Barnard faculty and staff members as well as a number of Columbia staff began receiving robocalls from an undisclosed extremist group after Barnard College student Tessa Majors, 18, was stabbed to death.
The first-year student was taking a walk on December 11 in Morningside Park near the Barnard and Columbia campuses when an assailant stabbed her multiple times with a knife in an attempted robbery which authorities believe involved multiple perpetrators.
Columbia University issued the following statement after racist rants which referenced Major's killing were left on their voicemails.
"We have become aware that robocall messages from a white supremacist group were received on many faculty and staff landlines at Barnard and may have been received by a small number of Columbia faculty and staff as well."
"The contents of this message, related to Tess Majors' recent death, are abhorrent and viciously racist."
"We write to let you know that we are actively looking into this with the NYPD and are working to block the caller."
A white supremacist outlet made racist robocalls to employees at Barnard College and Columbia University about the… https://t.co/S4FRpCkiEA— The New York Times (@The New York Times) 1577547662.0
The university concluded the letter by urging colleagues to notify them if they received the racist robocalls or receive one in the future.
If you're at Barnard or Columbia and got one of these racist robocalls, please reach out. If confidentiality is a… https://t.co/n5dWa8PIhn— Michael Gold (@Michael Gold) 1577392525.0
With the The NYPD Racial and Ethnically Motivated Extremism unit conducting an ongoing investigation, an NYPD spokesperson told Buzzfeed:
"There is no place for hate or intolerance in New York City, or anywhere."
@nytimes This country of ours is getting more divisive each day. But then we lack a Leader for ALL the People. We h… https://t.co/LbnKsHV4jY— vasco de gama (@vasco de gama) 1577584528.0
@nytimes Beyond vile— Deborah Frost (@Deborah Frost) 1577486579.0
Mayor Bill de Blasio also denounced the robocalls and expressed that New York City has no tolerance for White supremacist groups.
White supremacists are morally bankrupt and these robocalls in the wake of an unspeakable tragedy are disgusting.… https://t.co/uAUBOPenaB— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@Mayor Bill de Blasio) 1577396666.0
The New York Daily News suspects an Idaho-based hate group as the culprit behind the robocalls.
One of the abhorrent messages ended with the mention of The Road to Power – a White supremacist group who is notorious for exploiting current events to disseminate their messages of hate. Other states like California, Idaho, Iowa, Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania have also experienced The Road to Power's contemptible phone campaign.
However, there is no evidence that The Road to Power made the actual phone calls. The group's self-professed leader was not available to comment.
The Daily News said one of the Barnard College and Columbia University's voicemails included comments blaming the victim's parents for her death and comparing her killers to "dangerous animals."
NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller told the news outlet:
"The calls were certainly hateful in nature and racially motivated, and come from a known entity that's been behind calls like this before."
"It referenced the homicide of Tessa Majors and connected racially-motivated comments to that."
More details emerged on Friday when the New York Press Photographers Association confirmed receiving the same message left at the schools.
A male voice was heard with his take on the death of the White college student in the 110-second message.
The voice said:
"During her young life, Tessa Majors many times consorted with Negroids, little knowing that each of those encounters brought her statistically closer to the one that would end with her alone on a cold night in an empty park."
"Our civilization is doomed to die if we continue to let the impulsive, low IQ Negro species live among us."
"Time to get rid of them all. Return citizenship to Whites only, and deport all Negroids to Africa."
People urged us not to forget the victim while White supremacists attempt to exploit her death.
@nytimes Very disturbing, white supremacist, who just kill Tessa Majors, whose life was taken, and her future gone,… https://t.co/x19yYcqcxa— bizzielizzie785 (@bizzielizzie785) 1577489036.0
The Hate They Give: White Supremacists Flood Columbia University With Racist Robocalls After Tessa Majors Murder… https://t.co/INE6VWTYZg— SADY S*E*N (@SADY S*E*N) 1577464155.0
Multiple reports claimed a Black 13-year-old suspect—whose idenitity was withheld—was arrested earlier this month in connection to the robbery and murder of Majors.
The boy's statements from an interview—conducted in the presence of his uncle— led investigators to an unidenitifed 14-year-old suspect who was detained on Friday, but released for lack of evidence.
People are urging caution before jumping to conclusions like they have in the past.
“Certainly, in the investigative steps, the department will be more cautious because of the attention that was paid… https://t.co/fnpBnNLLbm— Ava DuVernay (@Ava DuVernay) 1576942159.0
A third suspect is believed to be the one who stabbed Majors.
He remains at large.
The book The Central Park Five: The Untold Story Behind One of New York City's Most Infamous Crimes is available here.
"On April 20th, 1989, two passersby discovered the body of the "Central Park jogger" crumpled in a ravine. She'd been raped and severely beaten. Within days five black and Latino teenagers were apprehended, all five confessing to the crime. The staggering torrent of media coverage that ensued, coupled with fierce public outcry, exposed the deep-seated race and class divisions in New York City at the time."
"The minors were tried and convicted as adults despite no evidence linking them to the victim. Over a decade later, when DNA tests connected serial rapist Matias Reyes to the crime, the government, law enforcement, social institutions and media of New York were exposed as having undermined the individuals they were designed to protect."
"Here, [the author] recounts this historic case for the first time since the young men's convictions were overturned, telling, at last, the full story of one of New York's most legendary crimes."