Attack suspect arrested

By Bill Schwingel

The incident involving five white males beating an NIU black male student has some sides claiming racism after an arrest Friday by DeKalb Police of one of the suspected assailants.

On Oct. 14, five assailants, three of which are NIU students, traveling in a red Jeep Wagoneer pulled an NIU student from his car and battered him. The incident occurred on the 900 block of Hillcrest Drive after there was a misunderstanding as to which vehicle should go first at a four-way stop, DeKalb Police Lt. Richard Moudy said.

DeKalb Police arrested Michael E. Spizzirri, 19, Rolling Meadows, Ill., on Thursday at 8:45 p.m., and charged him with battery and criminal damage to property, Moudy said.

The police identified Spizzirri through the license plate of the jeep. Witnesses who had seen the jeep assisted in the identification, he said. The NIU student’s vehicle also had a damaged hubcap, which it received when one of the assailants kicked it, he said.

Moudy said, “Some of the people” involved also were consuming alcohol, but the police are unaware as to who was drinking.

The police will interview the remaining suspects on Monday because they are out of town and unable to be contacted, Moudy said.

The NIU Black Student Union labeled the incident as racist because two earlier incidents Saturday evening involved the same jeep, BSU President Chris O’Banner said.

Police disagreed with the accusation that the incident was racist. “Nothing in this case is racial, there were no racial slurs,” Moudy said. “It was just motorists who had a disagreement.”

“There isn’t hardly a weekend that goes by (during which) fights don’t take place,” he added.

The alleged incidents the BSU referred to involved one black student walking alone and another driving a car, O’Banner said. One of the harrassed students claimed the assailants said there is “safety in numbers,” O’Banner said.

The BSU, Freedom Now, Feminist Front and B.R.O.T.H.E.R.S issued a consolidated statement claiming the incident was racially motivated and an outrage, and “will not be tolerated.”

In response to the incident, the BSU issued a list of demands from the university, DeKalb Police and University Police. The statement also listed the actions the BSU is taking.

The demands included the “immediate expulsion” of the three NIU students allegedly involved in the incident and that the investigation of the incident be sped up by the DeKalb Police, UPs and the Illinois State’s Attorney’s Office.

The actions the BSU will take to ensure the safety of the students on campus include campus patrols, a 24-hour BSU hotline and an escort service to assist students unwilling to travel alone at night.