EDITOR’S NOTE: The Heights redacted personally identifiable information in the two attached documents which were obtained from the court following the arraignment proceedings Thursday.
The arraignment for Michael Sorkin, CSOM ’21, was delayed until Jan. 18 on Thursday in Brighton District Court. Sorkin is charged with the attempt to commit a crime, malicious property destruction exceeding $1,200, and false activation of a fire alarm. Newly filed documents in the Brighton District Court obtained by The Heights show that Sorkin allegedly made anti-Semitic comments while he was being arrested.
Boston College Police Department detective Brian DeMayo described Sorkin’s demeanor as “uncooperative and unusual” in one of the reports. Sorkin was transported to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital due to his alleged level of intoxication and officers’ concerns about his psychological and medical well-being. While Sorkin was being arrested, DeMayo allegedly asked Sorkin if he had taken any drugs or if he was on medications—Sorkin did not answer. Sorkin then began to speak, allegedly saying he was a “Jew hater” and “don’t not like Jews [sic].”
The charge of assault and battery on a police officer was dropped prior to the scheduled arraignment. Based on the court documents, that charge should not have been filed in Suffolk County in the first place, since Sorkin allegedly assaulted the officers in Middlesex County. The Middlesex County district attorney’s office has indicated that Sorkin has not yet been charged.
Administrators originally indicated Sorkin was arrested for a bias-related incident. But based on the documents, Sorkin was not charged with such a crime. Sorkin is yet to be charged over that alleged violation. The public blotter released by BCPD said that Sorkin’s racist vandalism was labeled as a “hate crime.”
BCPD Incident Reports obtained by The Heights as part of the public record at Brighton District Court.
If Sorkin is to be charged with a hate crime, which would come in response to his allegedly writing racist epithets on walls, furniture, blinds, and a mirror in Welch Hall, that charge would be filed by the FBI in federal court, not in a specific county. The FBI’s Boston field office media coordinator Kristen Setera declined to comment when asked about whether the FBI is investigating Sorkin, citing FBI policy against commenting on potential investigations.
The arraignment—originally set for Thursday morning—was moved to Jan. 18 at the request of the defendant. Patrick Sheehan, Sorkin’s lawyer, declined to comment on the delay. As part of this agreement, Sorkin is to refrain from using alcohol or drugs and must comply with treatment and any follow-up care, according to the docket from the Brighton District Court proceedings. He has also been ordered to stay away from BC’s campus.
The Heights has obtained copies of two different BCPD incident reports filed with the court as part of public government proceedings that outline Sorkin’s alleged actions in Walsh Hall and subsequent arrest at his dorm. In the report describing the Walsh incidents, it is alleged that Sorkin was observed via surveillance cameras in Walsh activating a fire extinguisher, which caused damage to a reflection room door, door frame, and several pieces of furniture.
It is also alleged that the chemical spray from the extinguisher triggered the fire alarm. Both the lobby and laundry room were filled with a powdered substance discharged from the extinguisher Sorkin allegedly activated.
Jorge Ortiz, a BCPD officer, noted in the reports that while he and another officer were debriefing with the on-call residential director, a second fire alarm was set off. After the building was evacuated again, a student allegedly approached Ortiz and informed him that damage had been done to a reflection room on the third floor around the same time that the second alarm went off. Ortiz then found that the third floor fire alarm appeared to have been tampered with.
Some time after Sorkin was allegedly identified on the Walsh surveillance cameras, DeMayo and two other officers were dispatched to Sorkin’s dorm based on the alleged infractions that had occurred in Walsh. Along with other activities Sorkin is alleged to have engaged in, he allegedly attempted to break into the Walsh Players Club, the athletics cafeteria located in the residence hall. This alleged incident is why Sorkin was charged for an “attempt to commit a crime.”
Sorkin’s roommate let the officers into their room, where the officers found Sorkin asleep in some of the same clothes he was wearing when he was identified via surveillance at Walsh, according to the incident report describing the damage in Walsh. After BCPD was unable to wake Sorkin, DeMayo removed his blanket, and allegedly found a powdered substance on Sorkin’s pants that was apparently consistent with the substance found in Walsh.
When Sorkin sat up, DeMayo noted that he had permanent marker on his hands. The two incident reports obtained by The Heights only disclose Sorkin’s alleged actions in Walsh Hall and his subsequent arrest, not the racist alleged vandalism in Welch Hall.
Court docket records from Sorkin’s arraignment proceedings on Thursday.