Justice for Jason Outright Dismissal of All Charges
Dear Northwestern District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel, and Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley: On February 3, 2008, two white men appeared at the window of the dormitory room of Jason Vassell, a black student who was majoring in Biology at UMass Amherst. The two men subjected Jason to racial invective and threats of violence. They kicked in his window and later gained access to an outer lobby of his dorm, where they attacked Jason, breaking his nose and causing a serious concussion. Injured and attempting to defend himself, Jason wounded his assailants with a small knife while the police were on the way to the site of the crime. Currently, one of Jason’s assailants has not been charged with any crime, while the chief aggressor, John Bowes--who has previously perpetrated a racially motivated assault--has only been charged with misdemeanors which could result in a maximum sentence of 18 months. Meanwhile, Jason –who has no criminal record and whom his professors describe as a serious, respectful, & diligent student—faces two felony charges that could result in 30 years in prison. Jason's life will potentially be destroyed because he was subjected to a racial attack while in his own dorm. We call on you for an outright dismissal of the charges against Jason Vassell.