HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A University of Connecticut student accused of saying a racist slur outside a campus apartment complex applied Wednesday for a probation program that could result in the charge being erased.
Jarred Karal, of Plainville, applied for accelerated rehabilitation in Rockville Superior Court. The program can lead to charges being erased after a successfully completed probation period.
A hearing on the application is set for Jan. 8.
Karal and another student, Ryan Mucaj, of Granby, are charged with ridicule on account of creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality or race.
Karal told police they were playing a game in which they shouted bad words and didn’t mean to offend anyone, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
Karal’s lawyer, T.R. Paulding Jr., and Mucaj’s attorney, Mario Cerame, declined to comment Wednesday. Mucaj is due in court Dec. 19.
Police said the two 21-year-old men said the racial slur several times while walking with a third student through the parking lot of UConn’s Charter Oak Apartments complex on Oct. 11. Karal and Mucaj are white.
The third student was not charged.
The slur was recorded on video by a black student and led to campus protests against racism. That student told police he was not sure whether the students saw him or were directing the racial epithets toward him.
Free speech advocates have weighed in, saying the slur is offensive but uttering it is not criminal.
Karal told police the group was playing a game in which they would yell the word “penis,” according to an arrest warrant affidavit. The first person who refuses to say the word loses, he said. They decided to change the game to shouting the racial epithet, he said.
“I sincerely apologize if we offended anyone,” he told police, according to the affidavit. “This was not our intentions at all. We were acting dumb, idiotic and childish.”
Mucaj told police he had had seven drinks at a bar and did not remember the episode, authorities said.
UConn has declined to say whether Karal and Mucaj are facing academic penalties, citing federal privacy law.