UConn Student Gets Probation in Racial Slur Case

Jarred Karal booking photo
UConn Police

One of the two University of Connecticut students caught on video shouting a racial slur outside a campus apartment complex has been granted a special form of probation that could result in dismissal of the charge.

A judge on Tuesday accepted Jarred Karal's application for accelerated rehabilitation. Karal, 21, of Plainville, was placed on six months of probation and ordered to complete 20 hours of community service and undergo diversity and bias training, the Hartford Courant reported.

Accelerated rehabilitation is generally for first-time offenders charged with nonviolent offenses. A charge of ridicule on account of creed, religion, color, denomination, nationality or race will be dismissed after a successful probation period.

Karal and another student, Ryan Mucaj, 21, of Granby, faced 30 days in jail. Mucaj's case is pending, according to court records.

Prosecutor Thadius Bochain was in favor of Karal's admission to the program, saying that while his words were "serious and concerning," alcohol and immaturity played a role and the student has taken responsibility.

Karal's lawyer, T.R. Paulding, said his client's conduct "was very out of character." Karal is scheduled to graduate this spring, Paulding said.

Police said the 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. Free speech advocates said that while the slur is offensive, uttering it is not criminal.

Karal told police the group was playing a game in which they would yell an offensive word, 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.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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