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Tolerance Class, Probation for San Diego State Grad in Racially-Charged Social Media Threat

On April 29, San Diego State University graduate Martin Ruiz, 24, sent a threatening and racially-charged video to a black SDSU student, Christopher Simmons, via Snapchat

A San Diego State University graduate who made racially-charged threats against a student via social media will have to complete a tolerance course as part of his punishment.

Martin Ruiz, 24, was sentenced Tuesday for the racist threats. He received three years of probation and was ordered to complete a two-day “anti-bias training program” at the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, officials with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office confirmed.

Judge Laura Halgren told Ruiz he has until Jan. 16, 2020, to take that class, and will have to show proof of completion.

The DA's office said Ruiz had pleaded guilty on Sept. 3 to a misdemeanor count of interference of civil rights through force and threats.

On April 29, Ruiz sent racist threats via Snapchat video to Christopher Simmons, a black student at SDSU. He was arrested on May 1 after the video surfaced on social media.

Investigators, at that time, did not detail the contents of the video but SDSU tweeted about it, saying it showed a person making "a threatening and disparaging remark directed at a member of SDSU’s Black community."

The university said the comments made in the video used "imagery historically used to threaten Black individuals and communities."

NBC 7 obtained the video and the comments made were racially-charged. Martin threatened the victim with graphic violence.

Following Ruiz's arrest, SDSU President Adela de la Torre said the comments in the social media video were "fundamentally against who we are as a community."

"Every single member of our community should be free from discrimination, harassment and violence," said SDSU Chief Diversity Officer J. Luke Wood, back in May. "We value and respect every person who has come forward to support our Black community, as well as other members of our community. Hate and bias-driven acts may target one, but they impact us all, and our community’s response with positive action is exactly the momentum we need to evolve our collective humanity."

At Ruiz's sentencing this week, he offered an apology to Simmons through a three-page letter read in court, CNS reported. He called his threats "obscene" and referred to them as "hurtful rhetoric."

In the letter, Ruiz insisted he is not racist.

He claimed he made the video directed at Simmons out of anger over the victim's reaction to another video on social media.

"(I) became consumed by anger and emotions -- which led me to articulate sentiments that are an inaccurate reflection of my character," the letter said.

According to CNS, Ruiz also wrote that, as a Mexican-American, he too has experienced discrimination.

"I am ashamed that I allowed my conduct to stoop to that level," the letter said.

Ruiz's attorney said Ruiz hopes to put this incident behind him and someday work as a teacher, CNS reported.

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