Richard Collins III - Carlos GaminoBy Carlos Gamino

A Bowie State University student, Richard W. Collins III, was killed on the University of Maryland campus in mid-May—and it’s being investigated as a hate crime. Collins, a 23-year-old senior, was murdered by a 22-year-old University of Maryland student, Sean Urbanski, who was a member of a Facebook group called “Alt-Reich: Nation.”

Authorities said that they’re investigating the incident as a hate crime due to Urbanski’s involvement in the Facebook group, which posts racist material.

Urbanski is being charged with first- and second-degree murder, as well as first-degree assault.

According to the victim’s father, Richard Collins, Jr., investigators told him that Urbanski approached his son and made some type of threatening statement. When Collins III responded, Urbanski allegedly took out a knife and stabbed him.

Collins was a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, completing his college degree in exchange for a commission in the military.

Hate crimes have been on the rise this year, but the sad truth is that some states don’t even have hate crime laws. (Maryland does, as does Wisconsin.) Even in states that do have hate crime laws, the prosecution has to prove that the person who committed the crime was motivated by the victim’s race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, or another protected class.

In this case, University of Maryland Police Chief David Mitchell said, “Anyone who feels empowered by what happened, the only thing I can say is that if you want to harm our students, you are going to have to go through us. We are not going to tolerate any harm brought to our students. Not on my campus. Not on my watch.”

What Do You Think?

What do you think is causing the surge in hate crimes, which have been on the rise since about January 20 of this year? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please, share them on my Facebook page or on Twitter.

Carlos Gamino