The trial for Dharun Ravi is underway as more information on how the webcam and cyber bullying lead up to Rutgers University student, Tyler Clementi's death.
Clementi, Ravi's roommate at Rutgers, jumped off the George Washington Bridge in 2010. It was Ravi posting a video of an intimate encounter between Clementi and another man that lead to his actions. Just mere hours before his death, Clementi had asked for a room change on discovering that Ravi had used a webcam to broadcast his relationship.
For his actions, Ravi faces 15 criminal charges, among them being invasion of privacy, evidence tampering and bias intimidation. Ravi is not charged with causing or contributing to the death of Clementi, but the hate crime charge of bias intimidation can put Ravi behind bars for up to 10 years.
Yesterday, Geoffrey Irving, a Rutgers graduate and former captain of the Ultimate Frisbee team, took to the witness stand to explain Ravi's feelings towards Clementi's sexuality. [He] told me he had set up a webcam of some sort to capture images of his roommate, said Irving about a conversation with Ravi that took place on Sept. 21, 2010, after a late night practice. He told me he had done it before that date. That he was planning on doing it again. That night. According to NJ.com, Irving stated that he had never heard Ravi say anything malicious about Clementi, but from my observation of his demeanor, he appeared uncomfortable with the situation.
During a cross-examination, Irving stated that he was not clear on the reasons behind Ravi setting up the webcam. However, Ravi's attorney, Steven Altman, tried to clear that up for the jury, arguing that Ravi was worried that his belongings might get stolen by Clementi's guest. Altman also claimed that while Ravi's actions might be stupid, they were not hateful.
According to NJ.com, Altman's claims of wanting to prevent robbery was countered by witnesses that stating that the webcam was purposely focused on Clementi's bed by Ravi the night of Sept. 21.
On the night of Sept. 22, 2010, Rutgers officer Krzysztof Kowalczyk went to Ravi and Clementi's dorm room to do a welfare check on Clementi after he posted a message on his Facebook page saying jumping off the gw bridge sorry. According to the Boston Herald, Ravi informed the office that he had not seen his roommate since 4:30 p.m. the day before. Ravi also told the officer about Clementi had a male visitor over a few days before, whom he believed to be involved in a relationship. However, Ravi failed to inform the officer that Clementi's guest had visited the night of the 21st as well, the night that Ravi tweeted, Anyone with iChat, I dare you to video chat me between the hours of 9:30 p.m. and midnight. Yes, it's happening again. On Thursday, Prosecutors tried to show the jury that Ravi had later tried to alter the tweet. The altered message read, Roomate asked for room again. Its happening again. People with iChat don't you dare video chat me from 930 to 12.
Clementi's guest, referred to as M.B. due to the fact that he is considered a sex crime victim, is expected to take the stand.