News, On Campus, Off Campus, Top Story

Court Docs Confirm Sorkin Charged With ‘Civil Rights Violation,’ Detail Additional Alleged Racist Remarks

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Heights redacted personally identifiable information in the two attached documents including the name of the Boston College student who submitted a witness report and is mentioned as the person who Sorkin allegedly committed a civil rights violation against, as well as the names of various medical professionals who attended to Sorkin at St. Elizabeth’s hospital following his arrest.

New public records obtained by The Heights confirm that Michael Sorkin, CSOM ’21, is being charged with a civil rights violation, also known as a hate crime, in Middlesex County. This charge comes after a Boston College Police Department investigation led to Sorkin’s arrest last December after he allegedly vandalized Welch Hall with racist epithets.

Sorkin is being charged with six counts of criminal activity in Middlesex County, bringing the total number of criminal counts he is facing in Middlesex and Suffolk County to nine. Sorkin’s dorm room, Welch Hall, is located in Middlesex county, and Walsh Hall—where he is alleged to have falsely activated a fire alarm and damaged property using a fire extinguisher—is located in Suffolk County.

The description of the civil rights violation alleges that Sorkin did “by force of threat or force, wilfully injure, intimidate or interfere with, or oppress or threaten” a BC student—whose name The Heights has redacted.

Welch residents told BCPD the racist epithets were written between 3:45 a.m. and 4:05 a.m., according to Officer James Ruth’s report. A student “challenged” the person responsible for the vandalism—who is alleged to be Sorkin—after it was written, but the student then walked away, according to the report. The same student later went to BCPD and filed a statement of witness form with Detective Brian DeMayo.

In addition to the hate crime, Sorkin is also being charged with underage possession of liquor, assault and battery of a police officer, resisting arrest, tagging property, and destruction of property worth over $1,200 with malicious intent.

These newly-obtained reports contain police narratives that further recount racist comments Sorkin made while he was in the St. Elizabeth’s hospital emergency department.

Two officers, Ron McGill and Jorge Ortiz, were assigned to accompany Sorkin while he was transported under arrest to St. Elizabeth’s hospital. Ortiz’s report alleges that while he was in the room, Sorkin made a number of disturbing and unprompted comments.  

“Sorkin asked me ‘What kind of gun do you have?’ and ‘Have you ever killed a Blackman [sic]?’ while making popping noises,” the report said. “Throughout the night Sorkin started to give me the middle finger with his two hands and had a smile while doing it. It appeared to me that he was enjoying it.”

Ruth’s police report says that he was dispatched to Welch Hall after a report of graffiti was made to BCPD. He found “KILL N—-S” written on the wall between rooms 101 to 109, “N—-R” written on the first floor restroom mirror, “I HATE N—-S” in multiple locations in the Welch basement, and “F—K N—-S” in the basement’s elevator lobby and vending machine area.

DeMayo’s police report said that he also found the phrases “N—-S ARE THE PLAGUE” and “I F—KING HATE N—-S” written in Welch.

Ruth’s report said that “after an extensive investigation,” Sorkin was identified as a possible suspect in both this case and the case of property damage and false fire alarm activation in Walsh Hall. DeMayo viewed video evidence of what he believed to be Sorkin in a blue t-shirt holding a black marker, according to his report. He also noted that a judge granted a search warrant of Sorkin’s room, where DeMayo found two partially consumed containers of alcohol. Also located was Sorkin’s jacket—police searched for the black marker, but it was not found.

DeMayo noticed a chemical substance on Sorkin’s pants and the black marker ink on his hands, which DeMayo’s report alleges is “consistent with the marker used” in the hate crime. Nowhere in the reports is it noted that the actual marker was found.

To document the evidence, DeMayo attempted to photograph the scene. Sorkin then allegedly became uncooperative, “aggressively [reaching] up towards [DeMayo’s] face and camera.” DeMayo then attempted to restrain Sorkin with the help of Ruth, since Sorkin allegedly physically resisted. DeMayo felt a pinch on his left middle finger, which was close to Sorkin’s mouth, and DeMayo noticed he was bleeding from the injury—alleging that “[Sorkin] had bitten me.”

DeMayo and Ruth handcuffed Sorkin before reading him a Miranda warning. At that time, Sorkin did not respond when asked if he understood his rights or whether he had taken any drugs or medication. As mentioned in previous police reports, Sorkin is then alleged to have made comments about being a “Jew hater” and that he “don’t not like Jews [sic].” Sorkin was not asked questions about the alleged crimes because the officers were concerned that he may have been on drugs, according to DeMayo’s report.

Ruth’s report alleged that Sorkin smelled “strongly” of alcohol and was “extremely strong” when resisting arrest.

At 7:40 a.m., the attending physician in the emergency department alerted the on-call psychiatrist to further evaluate Sorkin. It was determined Sorkin then needed be evaluated again, which led to the first delay in his arraignment.

The two cases against Sorkin were delayed again to March 25 in both Suffolk and Middlesex County, last week. Sorkin remains barred from returning to campus, and is on a summary suspension from the University.

Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Editor

February 21, 2019