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Black college student arrested after allegedly posting fake racist frat party invite that read, 'No blacks'

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Image source: Pitt County Jail

A black student at East Carolina University was arrested after police said he posted a fake racist fraternity party invite that read "No blacks."

The arrest comes after another student was initially accused of posting the invite, after which he said he received death threats.

What are the details?

James Daniel Edwards, 19, was booked Friday at the Pitt County Jail on a misdemeanor cyberstalking charge that came with a $1,000 bond. Edwards' race is listed as black in jail records.

Officials said Edwards turned himself in at the jail, the News & Observer reported.

What's the background?

In August, police in Greenville, North Carolina, launched an investigation regarding a Yik Yak app post inviting people to a Theta Chi rush party with one eye-opening caveat: "No blacks," the invite read, according to WITN-TV.

Image source: WITN-TV video screenshot

Yik Yak allows users to post anonymously in a local area, the News & Observer reported, adding that the frat party never took place.

What's more, the name and phone number of ECU Theta Chi Chapter member, Austin Hunter, were attached to the invite, the station said.

"It's caused a lot of stress and anxiety," Hunter told WITN after his name was cleared. "To be accused of something that I didn't do, that really sucks. My name and number were posted in the college newspaper, and I was being harassed with calls and texts, and I even received death threats."

Image source: WITN-TV video screenshot

Greenville police spokesperson Kristen Hunter told WITN the department worked closely with Yik Yak to find out who actually posted the racist invite — and warned users that their anonymity only goes so far when posts are malicious.

"If you have any type of social media app, there is a digital footprint," Hunter added to the station. "There is a way to track this type of activity and behavior. So, I would certainly caution anybody that's looking to utilize anonymous apps that we can find you."

Suspect is member of different frat

The two-month investigation culminated with the arrest of Edwards, who is a member of ECU's Pi Lambda Phi chapter, WITN said.

According to a previous WITN report, Edwards' intended major is political science, and Pi Lambda Phi's website lists him as vice president of recruitment.

When WITN reached Edwards on Monday afternoon, the station reported that he said "no comment" until he gets a lawyer.

'Don't spread rumors'

Austin told WITN he hopes the outcome of the controversy teaches others that accusations before all the facts are in can have long-term consequences and should be avoided.

"Because something is posted, doesn't mean it's true," he told the station. "Don't spread rumors. What happened to me can happen to anyone."

What did the college have to say?

"We are aware of the arrest by Greenville Police of an ECU student related to a racist Yik Yak post earlier this semester," John Mountz, ECU director of student engagement said, according to WITN. "We appreciate the efforts of the Greenville Police to identify the individual who made the post and to clear the name of the student and the Theta Chi fraternity listed in the original post. We will continue to work with our students and campus to build a welcoming and inclusive community for all."

(H/T: The College Fix)

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