Texas A&M police say student who reported racist notes placed them there himself
The 21-year-old senior continues to maintain his innocence even after police closed the case.
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - In a report released to KBTX on Thursday, police at Texas A&M University said a student who reported finding racist notes on his car’s windshield last month may have placed the papers there himself. However, the 21-year-old at the center of the case strongly denies those claims.
Isaih Martin, a senior at A&M, called police on the afternoon of Wednesday, June 24, to report finding three handwritten notes on his car that said “All lives matter” and “You don’t belong here.” The third note contained the N-word.
According to the report, Martin parked his car at his apartment complex on George Bush Drive just after 11:00 a.m. and walked into a nearby apartment. Roughly 90 minutes later Martin returned to his car where he claims he then found the papers.
Police said in their report there was no nearby camera to clearly show what happened, but there was surveillance video from a nearby pool camera that showed a couple of people walking near Martin’s car during that time frame, but they were only near the car for a few seconds each.
Around 12:55 p.m., Martin is seen on video walking back to his car.
Police wrote in their report, “Martin immediately walks to the passenger side of his vehicle, but does not open any doors. Martin is seen toward the front of his vehicle. A brief white speck is seen from about mid-torso of Martin moving toward his vehicle. Another white speck is seen near his chest area. Martin is then seen stepping back and onto the sidewalk in front of his vehicle, most likely taking photos and videos. He then approaches his vehicle again on the passenger side and remains there for a few moments. He is then seen walking around the front of his vehicle. Martin then enters the driver`s door and drives away a few moments later. The total time spent at his vehicle is 1 minute, 15 seconds.”
Police said in the report it was “difficult to distinguish any characteristics of the suspect in the video” but “based on video evidence, no other person had enough time to place the messages on Martin`s car other than himself.”
The report goes on to say, “the other individuals that walked past Martin`s vehicle were not hidden for more than 5 seconds, and would have had to reach over the hood to place the notes.”
“He was the only person with enough time to place the notes on his car,” said police.
KBTX has requested a copy of the video police used to make their conclusion but it was not released on Thursday along with the police report. The request for the video is still pending at this time and a university spokesperson did not immediately know the reason why it wasn’t released with the report.
“I am utterly disappointed,” said Martin on Thursday, in response to the conclusions of the police report. “There are several things they did not include in this report.”
Martin, who believes the notes were left by one of the men seen in the video walking a dog, has taken to social media to share his side of the story. There, he’s been faced with increased skepticism, especially after announcing this week he consulted with an attorney and was no longer speaking with police.
“I’m in a predicament where the topic of the case was let’s find out who did this to them pointing the finger at me,” said Martin on Twitter. “In the end, I stopped talking to them because it seemed they were more interested in me getting the blame for this hate crime instead of finding the actual person who did it.”
Police shared their findings with the county attorney who determined no crime was committed since the notes did not contain a threat.
“I was told that this fell under the 1st Amendment free speech protections and that no crime had occurred,” wrote the officer who filed the report.
Police also asked the county attorney’s office to see if the incident would be considered a false report but were told the case “does not meet the elements since Martin did not report a crime.”
The case is considered closed, according to university police.
After the incident was reported last month, A&M’s president offered a $1,200 reward for information that could lead investigators to who put the notes there.
On Thursday, President Michael K. Young released the following statement:
“Racism of any kind has no place at Texas A&M. I appreciate the efforts of university police who investigated with professionalism in pursuit of facts. We will continue to take an active stance to review claims of harassment, stalking and/or related retaliation that violates a person’s civil rights, wherever it may lead. We will continue to develop a safe and welcoming environment.”
“Yesterday afternoon I learned of a detestable racist event — messages of hate were left on the car windshield of a #TAMU student. Acts of racism are irreconcilable with the values we uphold here at Texas A&M University.” - #PresYoung— Texas A&M University (@TAMU) June 25, 2020
Read the full note: https://t.co/Eh530aZMsS pic.twitter.com/bxK54dBjrt
Texas A&M University also released the following statement:
“The University Police Department closed this case after consulting with the Brazos County Attorney’s Office. The police report and related available information affiliated with their work are being released through standard protocols. As a public university, Texas A&M is limited by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) on providing specific student information and therefore will be unable to provide additional details.”
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