A former Cal Poly student accused of sending an online death threat to a student leader within the university’s diversity program, sparking anti-hate rallies on campus, will avoid jail time after accepting a plea deal late last month.
Charles Raymond Bird, 21, was facing three charges, including a felony count of making a threat to commit violence and two misdemeanor counts of violating civil rights and making an annoying or obscene telephone call. The felony also carried a criminal hate crime enhancement, which could have led to a maximum sentence of six years in prison.
But Bird pleaded no contest on Sept. 22 to the two misdemeanors, while the felony was dismissed. Under terms of the plea agreement, Bird will be on informal bench probation for two years and must complete 200 hours of community service within a year.
The day of the rope is coming soon, and you people will be the first to go.
Online threat allegedly made by Charles Bird
Bird was arrested in December after the then-president of the Cal Poly Queer Student Union received a Facebook message from a fake account that threatened an attack against him and other members of SLO Solidarity, an activist campus club that lobbies for minority inclusion and a more diverse and tolerant campus atmosphere.
“The day of the rope is coming soon, and you people will be the first to go,” reads the message from an account with the username “Mordecai Shekelburg.” “If you don’t like how it is in this town, you can go somewhere else. We have a nice thing going here, and if you (expletive) with that, you’re going to have some angry young white man on your hands.” The message ended with an anti-Semitic slur.
The message prompted a rally of more than 1,000 students, faculty and staff to oppose intolerance on campus.
Cal Poly spokesman Matt Lazier said Tuesday that Bird has been expelled from the university.