Officials at the University of Pittsburgh are investigating junior Ethan Kozak after accusations surfaced that the student threatened a Black gentleman with racist jargon on Snapchat.
Twitter please do your thing. get him kicked out of school and politics before he becomes someone who’s in charge of our laws. pic.twitter.com/a310L0gZhA
— NATIVE AMERICANS ARE NOT MASCOTS (@flawlessflop) June 27, 2019
According to USA Today, off-campus resident D.J. Matthews is identified as the recipient of these messages, which were sent via the social media platform.
“I wanna see what you'll do if it's on sight and I'm carrying," he wrote. "Then I get (to) legally shoot your n****r ass just like George Zimmerman.”
George Zimmerman was charged in the killing of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in 2012 after hunting down the teen, claiming he believed he was a robbery suspect, and fatally shot him. Zimmerman, who worked as a security guard in the neighborhood, was subsequently acquitted for all charges, leading to nationwide protests. Pittsburgh authorities say Matthews opted not to follow through with a criminal complaint. The two haven’t spoken since the incident made headlines.
The New York Daily reports the messages first began when Kozak accused Matthews of insulting his father on Snapchat. Matthews disputes those claims and argues Kozak reached out to him to inquire about purchasing rugs from his shop.
The University of Pittsburgh issued a statement obtained by The Pitt News condemning the messages sent by Kozak, calling his actions “unacceptable.”
“Such conduct is unacceptable and runs in stark contrast to our University’s values and mission,” representative Kevin Zwick said. “At this time, Pitt Police are working with City of Pittsburgh Police to investigate this matter, and the safety of our University community remains a top priority.”
Kozak claims he never wrote any racist or violent notes to Matthews or anyone else before Wednesday’s interaction went viral.
“I’ve known [Matthews] since 2013, if I was really racist something would have really went wrong between then and now,” he justified.
A simple review of the aforementioned thread reveals other users exposing Kozak’s history of using threatening language in the past, even going as far as posting photos of himself in possession of firearms.
Thank you to who sent me this. verified pic.twitter.com/GU2zOi67nL
— NATIVE AMERICANS ARE NOT MASCOTS (@flawlessflop) July 2, 2019
It appears the student was an employee at a local Chipotle in Pennsylvania, but another employee confirmed that he has since been terminated from his role at the popular chain. While Kozak says he was placed on an interim suspension as the probe continues, Pitt administrators did not confirm whether this statement was valid.