Trio released under investigation over ‘we hate blacks’ chants at university
Nottinghamshire Police are treating the incident as a hate crime.
Two people arrested by police looking into a video showing “vile” racist abuse being chanted outside the room of a black student have been released under investigation.
The men, aged 18, were arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offences.
An 18-year-old woman, interviewed in connection with the incident, has also been released under investigation, Nottinghamshire Police said.
Nottingham Trent University student Rufaro Chisango told the BBC the chanting at her halls of residence left her feeling “shocked, isolated and uncomfortable”.
yoo I’m fuming, the way people in the same uni halls as me are chanting “we hate the blacks” outside my bedroom door. Words cannot describe how sad this makes me feel, in this 2018 people think this is still acceptable😤 pic.twitter.com/XUiYqNIWQT— Zimbabyè (@rufarochisango_) March 7, 2018
Police, who confirmed they are treating the incident as a hate crime, said they will continue to speak to witnesses.
The university said an unspecified number of “suspected perpetrators” have been suspended after the abuse was captured on video and reported to security staff by Ms Chisango.
Police are investigating the video, which captured at least two males chanting “we hate blacks” and making other racist comments.
Other chants captured by the video include “We are the blacks haters” and “Sign the Brexit papers”.
At one point during the minute-long video, a female interrupts the chants, saying: “Leave her alone.”
Ms Chisango, who posted footage of the incident on Twitter, told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme the abuse earlier this week had a “big impact” on her, leaving her feeling shocked and isolated.
Please contact the Police and your Member of Parliament and cc me in. All my love and solidarity.— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) March 7, 2018
The student said: “I just want the appropriate action to be taking place. Obviously it’s racial abuse. It should not be tolerated at all.”
Asked if she intended to contact the police, she said she wanted to wait to see what action was taken by the university.
Mary Okpo, of Nottingham Trent’s African Caribbean Society, told the BBC the incident was “unjustifiable and unacceptable”.
“Whether they were inebriated or not, there’s nothing that can justify what they said,” she said of the students involved.
“This was a terrible, terrible incident. It’s something that I didn’t think I would see. For it to be so overt, open, in 2018. It’s something that really, really shocked me.”
Earlier on Thursday, Nottinghamshire Police said it was aware of the video, adding: “It is wholly unacceptable and we’re proactively investigating the incident and liaising with the university.”
In a statement confirming “suspected perpetrators” had been suspended pending a full investigation, Nottingham Trent University said: “This kind of vile behaviour will not be tolerated.
“We have contacted the student who made the complaint and are providing support to her and others affected. And we will be liaising with the police about this incident.”
Among those who offered support on Twitter to Ms Chisango was the Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy, who tweeted: “Please contact the Police and your Member of Parliament and cc me in. All my love and solidarity.”
Actor and radio presenter Adil Ray tweeted: “This is a whole new low to see this at our universities.”