In late June, Texas A&M University student Isaih Martin made headlines after he said he found racist notes on the windshield of his car.
Martin posted a picture of the notes to his Twitter page, which according to KBTX was shared more than 10,000 times. The notes said “All lives matter,” “You don’t belong here,” and one containing the n-word, Martin claimed.
“All three signs were different signs, and one said ‘All lives matter’ and the other said ‘You don’t belong here’, and the other was very explicit, it said the n-word with a hard ‘r’,” Martin told KBTX. “For them to tell me I don’t belong here, when I have earned my spot like everybody else here, and am working to get a degree like everyone else is, that was just kind of hurtful because if anything I deserve to be here just as much as anybody else.”
Texas A&M responded on Twitter by saying, “Isaih, we are very sorry that this happened to you. Please report any incidents of hate you witness online or in person at http://stophate.tamu.edu so it can be reviewed.”
Martin told KBTX that he has seen things like this happen across the country but never thought it would happen to him.
“Racism is here in college station and that problem needs to be addressed and brought up and needs to be fixed,” he said.
A&M President Michael K. Young offered $1,200 to anyone providing information leading to an arrest.
“Acts of racism are irreconcilable with the values we uphold here at Texas A&M University. Those who promote hate, discrimination and disrespect are not welcomed at this institution. We are tired of bigoted members of our community marring the experiences of students of color,” Young said in a statement. “Let me be clear: Incidents like the one yesterday have no place at Texas A&M. Anyone who believes that hate is acceptable is not wanted at Texas A&M.”
Martin also commented that he never would have gone to A&M if he thought he might be the victim of such an experience.
“To be an Aggie is to be a person of welcoming and accepting nature, and when I first came here on my first college tour here, everyone was so nice everyone was so welcoming,” Martin said. “I never would have thought that I would have experienced this here, going into my senior year. I have almost spent four years in college station and when I first got here, if I knew that, I would have never come to A&M.”
Late last week, Texas A&M police closed the investigation. Just as in nearly every other instance of an alleged hate crime like this, police determined that the accuser was responsible for the notes.
“Nobody has been arrested and we determined there was no offense committed,” Lt. Bobby Richardson, told KBTX, though he wouldn’t elaborate. “Our investigation is closed.”
Two days later, KBTX obtained the police report regarding the incident and discovered police believe Martin left the notes himself. Police wrote that Martin parked his car at his apartment complex shortly after 11:00 a.m. and walked away. Martin said he returned to his car 90 minutes later to discover the notes.
Police said there were no cameras to clearly capture what happened, but nearby surveillance footage showed only a few people walking near Martin’s car during that time frame, none of whom were near the car long enough to post the notes.
Martin, however, returned to his car during that timeframe, police explained 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 that “based on video evidence, no other person had enough time to place the messages on Martin`s car other than himself.”
The other people who passed Martin’s vehicle, police say, “were not hidden for more than 5 seconds, and would have had to reach over the hood to place the notes.”
Martin told KBTX he would no longer cooperate with police and claimed there were “several things they did not include in this report,” adding he believed a man walking his dog in the video may have left the notes.
Martin will not face charges for filing a false police report because the notes contained no threat, therefore no crime was committed.
The officer who filed the report wrote that he “was told that this fell under the 1st Amendment free speech protections and that no crime had occurred.”
The university released a statement following the police report:
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.