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Allegheny student arrested for alleged assault

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An Allegheny College student was arrested by the Meadville Police Department on Thursday, April 11, for his alleged role in an assault at Julian’s Bar and Grille.

Interim Director of Public Safety William Merchbaker removed the student, Kobe Pinkney, ’21, from a philosophy class on Thursday, April 11. Kristin Dukes, dean for institutional diversity and April Thompson, dean of students, confirmed this removal during a community forum held on Friday, April 12, in the Henderson Campus Center.

Pinkney was arraigned April 11 before Magisterial District Judge Samuel Pendolino.

While Officer Jared Frum was on duty Sunday, April 7, near the Academy Theatre on Chestnut Street, he stopped his cruiser and was approached by four males; two were carrying Rhet Happel, ’17, whose left eye was swollen shut, according to the affidavit of probable cause filed in the case. The accompanying criminal complaint reports the alleged assault occurred between 1 and 1:28 a.m.

“I think he was assaulted,” one of the men told Frum, according to the affidavit.

The men told Frum that Happel was “wrongfully being accused” of “drugging” a female the night of Friday, April 5, and that Happel was threatened “earlier in the day” on Saturday by a male. In the affidavit, Frum said Meadville city police were called to Julian’s on Friday because of an “unconscious female in the bathroom.”

Happel was taken to Meadville Medical Center. When Frum arrived at the hospital to ask Happel about the incident, Happel said he did not remember being punched, according to the affidavit. Happel’s friends said they did not see the assault occur but picked him up from the ground and carried Happel outside.

Happel was later transferred to UPMC Hamot in Erie where he had emergency surgery, reports the affidavit. Happel’s mother told Frum in a phone conversation that Happel had three plates and 15 pins placed in the left side of his face, according to the affidavit.

On Wednesday, April 10, Frum interviewed a witness at Allegheny’s Office of Public Safety. The witness provided an audio statement and said they were standing in line for the bathroom at Julian’s when “an African-American male approximately six feet tall with braided hair” approached Happel, tapped him on the shoulder and punched the left side of his face once.

The witness told Frum the assailant then walked to the Town Tavern side of Julian’s. After “a short time later,” the witness walked into that section of the establishment but did not see the assailant.

One of the men who helped Happel from the bar, Evan Haines, ’17, contacted the witness and sent a picture of a “white male and a black male,” according to the affidavit. The witness recognized the white male as Jared Shaw, ’20, and the black male as Pinkney, according to the affidavit. The witness identified Pinkney as the male who punched Happel. The affidavit reports Haines sent the witness two more pictures — both pictures of Pinkney.

On Thursday, Pinkney left class with Merchbaker and was then taken into custody by the Meadville police.

Pinkney was charged with aggravated assault, a first degree felony; simple assault, a second degree misdemeanor; and harassment and disorderly conduct, both summary offenses. Pinkney is free on $5,000 bail, and a preliminary hearing before Pendolino is scheduled for Thursday, April, 25.

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About the Writer
Marley Parish, Editor-in-Chief

This is Marley Parish’s second year serving as editor-in-chief. She has been on staff for four years and has written for every section in the newspaper....

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Allegheny student arrested for alleged assault”

  1. Michelle O'Bryant- Clark on April 15th, 2019 10:06 am

    This is racial profiling at its best! First and foremost Kobe isn’t 21 he is 20 years old! They have footage at the bar showing he was not there at all! This is simply racism.. They see an young black man doing something with his life, that comes from a good background and they’re doing whatever they can to destroy him! This school better be prepared for the biggest lawsuit they ever had because they will not get away with this!

  2. Robbie Phillips on April 15th, 2019 1:09 pm

    I agree this appears to be egregious racial profiling, but not by the school necessarily. Meadville PD seems to be the one doing the profiling. Don’t know how legit a lawsuit against the school would be.

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Allegheny student arrested for alleged assault