February 6, 2009

Justice for Jason Vassell

Drumbeats from Jack & Jill Politics pointed us in the direction of a travesty of justice taking place in Massachusetts. Have you heard about the racist hate crime committed against Jason Vassell? Did you see how the districy attorney flipped the script on him? Did your local news report on the hundreds of people who rallied in support of Jason this week?

Here is an overview provided to us by an advocacy site set up on Jason’s behalf.

On February 3, 2008 Jason Vassell was the victim of a racist hate crime. Since then he has been further victimized by a racist prosecution. We, a coalition of community organizations, students and faculty, seek solidarity in challenging this racist prosecution.

Early on the morning of February 3, 2008, Jason, an African American student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was in his dormitory. Two intoxicated white men, Jonathan Bowes and Jonathan Bosse, approached Jason’s dormitory window repeatedly referring to him as a “nigger” and breaking in the window. They then forced their way into the dormitory lobby where they assaulted Jason, breaking his nose and giving him a concussion.

Under this continuing assault Jason was forced to defend himself with a pocketknife, injuring his assailants. As a result of defending himself against this unprovoked assault Jason, the victim of the attack, was charged with two counts of aggravated assault with a dangerous weapon. These charges carry a possible thirty year prison sentence. One of the perpetrators, Jonathan Bowes, was charged only with misdemeanors carrying a maximum eighteen month sentence. The other, Jonathan Bosse, was not charged at all.
I encourage all villagers to sign the petition to dismiss the charges. You can also contact the DA at (413) 586-9225, or via email at elizabeth.d.scheibel@state.ma.us.

Will you stand up in support of this young brother?


msladydeborah said...


I want to encourage everyone to get involved in helping to work on justice for Jason. This is one of those situations in which it is obvious that race does matter.

Villager said...

Lady D - I must admit that I was not aware of his case until last week. It is amazing how much injustice goes on below the radar. Anyhow, Jason Vassell is now on our radar. Let's keep the spotlight on his case until justice is done...