In his first interview with the press since being convicted of bias intimidation against Tyler Clementi, Dharun Ravi sounds more grown up, more sympathetic, and more like he's following a script from his defense strategy. Obviously, we don't really expect someone who's been convicted on a hate crime and facing jail time to further implicate himself to a newspaper, but there are a few things worth gleaning from Ravi's interview with The New Jersey Star Ledger.
If you can get past the "I'm not homophobic, some of my good friends ..." comments (they're there), and his diverse neighborhood ("It’s hard to form hate when you grow up around so many different kinds of kids ...), there's an interesting take on his dealings with Clementi's guest, known only by the initials "M.B." Ravi's version of the incident doesn't sound like the "jerky kid" his defense lawyers painted him as, but rather that he was concerned about Clementi's safety and was afraid because M.B. looked "strange", that he might steal, and looked "shady":
In today's interview, with Altman by his side, Ravi agreed Clementi’s sexuality was never the issue.
"If it was a girl who came to the room and she looked as strange as M.B., I would have done the same thing," he said.
The issue, he says, was M.B.
When Rutgers police first came to his room because Tyler was missing, Ravi said he feared "it had something to do with M.B."
"I thought it was something sinister, that maybe he got mixed up with the wrong guy," Ravi said. "I told one of my friends, ‘I wish I recorded (the first incident, on Sept. 19) so I would have an image of the guy (M.B.) to give to the police."
For Ravi's full interview head on over to The New Jersey Star Ledger.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.