The student at the center of controversy on Castleton University’s campus says the university’s Public Safety officers targeted him, leading to his arrest Friday night.
Hezekiah Williamson, 21, said in a Tuesday telephone interview that despite being charged with simple assault and disorderly conduct by Castleton Police, he was never violent with anyone.
Williamson said that Public Safety officers were told to bring him to the ground.
“While I was on the ground, one guy started choking me,” said Williamson.
He went on to say that he tried to get out of their grasp, but never hit anybody.
In an Oct. 20 Rutland Herald article, Williamson’s mother, Alexis Williamson, said Williamson felt he was “going to be the next black kid dead.”
Williamson briefly elaborated on that Tuesday, saying “that’s how I felt the entire time.”
“I felt like I was being attacked at that moment,” said Williamson.
While federal privacy laws prohibit Public Safety to speak on the issue, Castleton Police Chief Peter Mantello said on Monday “they had a report of an intoxicated student (Friday night) located in the dorm and they responded and made contact with Hezekiah and he assaulted at least three of the (public safety) officers.”
While there was at least one witness who saw the incident, the person was told not to comment on the matter.
Toward the end of the phone interview Tuesday, Williamson spoke a little more about Friday night.
“Everybody has a bad night, or a downfall, but that’s truly not how I am and that’s not how I was raised,” said Williamson.