Barry University has offered a defense for a law school student who appeared to make racist remarks on an Instagram post. The student says she didn’t make the remarks and that her phone had been stolen.
Someone using Daniella Pedrozo‘s Instagram identity commented Thursday night on a post by Karen Civil, an entrepreneur and media blogger, in reference to the recent grand jury decisions in the cases of Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.
“The only Americans questioning the system are the African Americans. As a lawyer, get over it,” the comment said.
Civil responded by asking the commenter to “get off my page.” In the next comment, the person using Pedrozo‘s identity wrote, “block me you n-----.”
The comments have since been deleted and Pedrozo’s Instagram handle has been changed.
Barry and Pedrozo have denied that she made the comments. Pedrozo filed a police report with Coral Gables police Friday morning, alleging that she was facing harassment. She told police that her phone was stolen Thursday after she left it on a bus leaving Miami International Airport and that someone else made the comments. Since then she has received messages threatening a protest outside her home and at the Barry law school in Orlando.
Leticia Diaz, dean of the law school, posted an official message on the school’s Facebook page supporting Pedrozo’s story. Diaz said the school will continue to look into the situation and said she was “appalled” by the comments.
“We are continuing to investigate this matter and I find the comments made on Karen Civil’s page abhorrent,” Diaz said.
Civil has posted screenshots of Pedrozo’s Instagram and Facebook accounts and said she was disappointed in the school’s message.
Civil sent a statement Saturday and said, “my statement on the Mike Brown and Eric Garner tragedies never focused on race, culture or identity, but our rights as American citizens to feel protected and have a sense of security.”
“As individuals we all have the right to exercise our freedom of speech. I believe this is what the student was attempting to do; nonetheless to verbally attack one based on the color of their skin is not okay,” Civil said in the statement.
Comments on Barry’s Facebook post have been mostly critical of the law school’s handling of the situation, with many on Facebook questioning why their posts were deleted.