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Cornell student charged with hate crime in alleged attack

ITHACA, N.Y. — A white Cornell University student has been charged with a hate crime related to a September incident that police say may have been racially motivated.

The Tompkins County District Attorney's Office announced Monday it had added the new charge against 19-year-old John Greenwood. Ithaca police charged Greenwood with assault in September after a black student said he was attacked by several people who yelled racial slurs outside his home near Cornell's campus.

The district attorney also charged Greenwood with aggravated harassment and criminal mischief.

Defense attorney Ray Schlather said Greenwood "was not involved in any physical altercation." He said physical evidence contradicts the victim's claims about what happened after the verbal exchange.

Greenwood issued a statement in September apologizing for using "unacceptable and inappropriate" language. 

In the days after the alleged attack, the national fraternity Psi Upsilon indefinitely shuttered its Cornell chapter, after concluding that students affiliated with the chapter were involved in the incident. The chapter had already been banned by the university in 2016 for violations of the school's conduct code. 

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