UC Berkeley police arrested one current and one former member of the Cal Bears football team on Monday in connection with the Sept. 30 break-in robbery of two students in their suite at the university’s Clark Kerr residential complex.
Authorities said that they believed the robbery had been motivated by a desire for retaliation against racial slurs made at an off-campus party on Sept. 27 by a white member of the university’s crew team, which the two suspects had learned about second-hand.
The desire for revenge turned into a case of mistaken identity when the suspects robbed two members of the UC Berkeley crew team whom university police said the suspects had though to be the ones making the slurs, but apparently were not.
R.J. Garrett and Gary Doxy, both 21-year-old African American undergraduates at UC Berkeley who live off-campus, have been charged on suspicion of robbery and attempted robbery, Lt. Doug Wing of UCPD’s Investigative Unit said Wednesday.
Garrett, a member of the UC Berkeley football team, was also charged for possession of an illegal, stolen weapon, Wing said. He was suspended from the Cal Bears football team immediately after his arrest, authorities said.
Doxy, a junior, is a former member of the team who was dismissed this summer for violating team rules, according to the school.
The two were taken into custody by UCPD without incident after a warrant was issued by an Alameda County Superior Court judge. Bail for each has been set at $60,000. Both students will face student conduct charges in addition to criminal charges.
“I know that the entire Cal Athletics community shares my profound disappointment in the wake of these incidents,” said the university’s Athletic Director Sandy Barbour in a statement. “They are contrary to everything we stand for. The suspension of the implicated student-athletes should be viewed as an initial step. It is now my responsibility to make sure that every member of our athletic program fully understands the extent to which these behaviors were, and will always be, completely unacceptable.”
Three days before the robbery took place, Garrett and Doxy went to a party at a residential house off-campus, which the two victims also attended, Wing said.
A white male crew member, whose name police are not releasing, who had been drinking at the party made comments and racial slurs which were overheard by a black female student athlete standing close to him.
“She believed that the comments might have been directed toward her but even if they were not, they were inappropriate anyway,” Wing said. “There was a confrontation at the party and then everybody went their own way.”
Wing said that although both the victims, who are also crew members, were at the party, they did not take part in making the comments.
“Neither knew about the racial slurs,” Wing said.
On Sept. 30, Wing said two men police believe to be Garrett and Doxy entered the bedroom of the two 18-year-old students through an open kitchen window and held them at gun point.
The two suspects then proceeded to steal a laptop, a laptop bag and computer accessories after which they fled. The residents were not injured. UCPD said that the suspects had used a BB gun during the robbery.
“Through our investigation we managed to tie the two suspects to the racial slurs,” Wing said. “There were things that led us to believe that the two incidents were connected. The two suspects had heard about the incident at the party and were trying to even the score card.”
Wing said a number of students had come forward to help with the investigation and to provide substantial evidence that led to the arrests.
“We reiterate our deep sympathies for the victims of the robbery and hope this case is resolved judiciously,” the university’s Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Harry LeGrande said in a statement “Obviously, we are greatly saddened whenever UC Berkeley students are involved in a criminal act, whether as victims or suspects.”
UC Berkeley’s Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri condemned the racial slurs in a statement.
“The campus has made it clear through our Principles of Community that racial slurs are deplorable and unacceptable, and that is why we have mechanisms in place to deal with such incidents,” he said.
Campus officials have suspended the student who made the racial slurs at the party shortly after the incident. He is facing student conduct charges.