Man gets probation for racist threats on Snapchat against SDSU student

SAN DIEGO — A man who directed racist threats against a San Diego State University student via social media was sentenced Tuesday to three years probation and ordered to complete a two-day tolerance course.

Martin Jesus Ruiz, 24, pleaded guilty earlier this year to a misdemeanor charge of making criminal threats in a Snapchat video sent to a black student on April 29.

Investigators identified Ruiz, an SDSU graduate, as the suspect in the case within 48 hours of the crime based on his appearance in a posted video and his online handle, authorities said. He was arrested by university police in May, and released from custody two days later.

Ruiz has until January to complete a two-day “anti-bias” course at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. He was also ordered not to have any contact with the victim, Christopher Simmons.

Ruiz wrote a three-page letter to Simmons in which he apologized “for the inconsiderate, hurtful rhetoric and obscene threats that I directed at you,” and said he was “in no way, shape, or form a racist, nor do I harbor negative sentiments towards you, the African American community or any other people of color.”

Ruiz wrote that at the time he made the video, he was angry at Simmons over the victim’s reaction to an unspecified video, and “became consumed by anger and emotions — which led me to articulate sentiments that are an inaccurate reflection of my character.”

Ruiz wrote that as a Mexican American who has experienced discrimination in his life, “I am ashamed that I allowed my conduct to stoop to that level.”

Ruiz’s attorney, Kerry Armstrong, said his client hopes to put the experience behind him and someday work as a teacher.

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