The students were initially charged with “Tampering in the second degree”, a class D Felony. This is a curious criminal provision that covers a wide array of possible conduct:
Tampering in the second degree.
569.090. 1. A person commits the crime of tampering in the second degree if he or she:
(1) Tampers with property of another for the purpose of causing substantial inconvenience to that person or to another; or
(2) Unlawfully rides in or upon another’s automobile, airplane, motorcycle, motorboat or other motor-propelled vehicle; or
(3) Tampers or makes connection with property of a utility; or
(4) Tampers with, or causes to be tampered with, any meter or other property of an electric, gas, steam or water utility, the effect of which tampering is either:
(a) To prevent the proper measuring of electric, gas, steam or water service; or
(b) To permit the diversion of any electric, gas, steam or water service.
The question is whether leaving cotton balls constitutes a substantial interference. The university paper said that the matter was being investigated as a hate crime, here.
For the full story, click here.