McDaniel student charged in assault

Former football player surrenders to police after race-related incident


November 26, 2003|By Athima Chansanchai | Athima Chansanchai,SUN STAFF

A McDaniel College student surrendered to Westminster police yesterday after being charged with assaulting two sophomores from the school this month in an argument with racial overtones, authorities said.

Nicholaos G. Alevrogiannis, a fifth-year student and a former stand-out football player at McDaniel, is accused of using racial slurs during a confrontation leading to a fight that left one man with a broken finger and 40 stitches to close a wound to his jaw and neck, according to court documents.

The fight broke out early Nov. 6, after a group of McDaniel students returned to campus on a chartered bus from a trip to the Baja Beach Club in Baltimore, according to the documents.

Two students went before the college's Honor and Conduct Board on Monday in connection with the incident, said a college spokeswoman, who would not name the students or release the outcome of the hearing.

Another student at the school faces charges in the incident but had not been arrested yesterday, said police.

Alevrogiannis, 22, of the 800 block of Johahn Drive in Westminster and formerly of Timonium, was a football player and wrestler at St. Paul's School. Described in District Court charging documents as 6 foot 3 inches tall and weighing 285 pounds, he was an honorable mention all-conference offensive tackle for the McDaniel football team.

He is charged, according to court records, with five misdemeanors: two counts of second-degree assault, one count of reckless endangerment and two counts of racial or religious harassment.

He was released on his own recognizance, according to Carroll County District Court commissioners. His trial is scheduled for Jan. 28.

While returning from the Baltimore club, Stuart Johnson, a 19-year-old McDaniel sophomore, asked a student he told police he knew as "Nick" to stop using a derogatory word to describe a woman on the bus, the charging documents state.

The student, who is white, told Johnson and another sophomore, Daniel Silva, both of whom are black, to "shut up," using a racial slur, according to the charging documents.

The student referred to the KKK, spelling out the word hang and telling the two black students that he would make them "bite the curb." That phrase is an apparent reference to a scene in the film American History X, in which a white supremacist forces a black man to lie on a street and open his mouth on a concrete curb before stomping on the back of the man's head.

After the bus unloaded at the school, the white student took a swing at Silva but missed, and then punched Johnson, they told police, according to the charging documents.

Silva, who according to an online roster is a defensive back on the McDaniel football team, said that he and the white student tussled until Silva heard the sound of breaking glass and saw Johnson "lying on the ground being punched and kicked by at least three white male subjects," the charging document states.

Found unconscious

Police found Johnson bleeding and unconscious at his Westminster apartment, and he was taken to Carroll Hospital Center.

He was released to recuperate at his parents' home in Baltimore County.

Westminster police and the school's Campus Safety officers labeled the incident a hate crime.

The results of the campus hearing Monday will not be released until the students have gone through an appeals process that could take several weeks, college officials said.

In a memo written to the college community four days after the incident, Philip Sayre, dean of academic affairs, said that students suspected of wrongdoing in the "disturbing incident" would only be allowed on campus to attend classes.

Some students questioned the school's response.

"We're talking about a crime, not an incident," said Trynita Romeo, 21, a senior majoring in business and economics, and a member of the school's Black Student Union. "An act of plagiarism will get an immediate suspension, so you think something of this magnitude will be taken seriously. But you can continue with classes and have a successful semester. That's not right."

Neither the Black Student Union nor any of several other racial and ethnic groups at the college have registered any formal reaction to the brawl, according to faculty advisers.

Wait-and-see attitude

The Black Student Union's adviser, assistant professor of sociology Roxanna Harlow, said that students she's talked to have a wait-and-see attitude.

"What students want to see the most is that some sort of justice is done," she said. "That the people who did this are punished some way."

The most serious charge against Alevrogiannis, the assault charge, carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $2,500 fine.

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