Investigations Launched Into Reported UT-Austin Bleach Bomb Attack

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Bryan Davis

Yesterday, Burnt Orange Report broke the story about a reported bleach-filled balloon thrown at University of Texas student Bryan Davis. After Davis bravely came forward, the public responded with a overwhelming demand for an investigation.

The Austin Police Department has now opened an investigation into the incident. Though an APD case on numerous bleach bomb attacks against students of color a year ago did not yield results, Austin Police Department Cpl. David Boyd told Fox 7 that the department is determined to get to the bottom of it.

“They (detectives) might be able to go out and look in the area and see who had surveillance cameras out there or any potential witnesses that were in the area that could have seen something,” Boyd said. “If anybody were to get bleach thrown at them in their eyes it could be a very serious situation where it could potentially blind you,” he added.

“We want to catch whoever's doing this and make sure it doesn't happen anymore,” Boyd told KVUE.

The University of Texas is also investigating the incident. Dean of Students Soncia Reagins-Lilly contacted Davis and told him the incident is being taken very seriously. Davis has turned over the clothes he was wearing on Thursday to the school for chemical testing. Gregory Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement, said in a statement that UTPD is investigating the incident alongside APD and is “anxious” to see results. The Campus Climate Response Team is also looking into the attack.

University Towers, building from which the balloon appears to have been thrown, is also taking action. Alex O'Brien, president of University Towers' managing company, told The Horn that the complex has “extensive” interior and exterior video surveillance equipment installed.

“We are committed to finding out, and we have security footage and everything,” O'Brien said. “I think that we will pretty quickly get to the bottom of it.”

It's great that investigations have come out of the report, and exactly why it's important to expose such attacks. After the initial reports of bleach balloons thrown at students of color a year ago, students held a rally across West Campus and campus to demand action. Hopefully these numerous investigations will yield results this time. Austin and the university must do everything in its power to ensure they prevent racist violence and fully uncover it when it occurs.

See TV interviews Bryan Davis gave to Austin's KVUE, Fox 7 and KEYE below the jump.

Update: The university has said the balloon appears to have been filled with water, and they are sending the clothing away for further testing. In a statement, they said the school considers the incident to be an assault, and violation of school policy. The school is still looking into possible racial motivations behind the attack. Perpetrators will be disciplined, the statement said.

Update: “Unfortunately, both the report and the statement given by UT are a result of poor investigation and utter negligence in handling the details of my case,” Bryan Davis  explains in an op-ed on Burnt Orange Report.Davis spoke to Austin's ABC affiliate KVUE:

Here's Fox 7:

And KEYE is here.

About Author

Ben Sherman

Ben Sherman has been a BOR staff writer since 2011. A graduate of the University of Texas, Ben has worked on campaigns, in political consulting, and has written for other news outlets like Think Progress. Ben considers campaign finance reform the fundamental challenge of our time because it affects every other issue in American politics. He is currently on leave for the election season.

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