Protests erupt at University of Delaware after student charged with attacking ex-girlfriend

University officials denounced the incident, describing it as domestic violence.

6abc Digital Staff Image
Thursday, October 14, 2021
Protests erupt at UDel after student charged with attacking woman
Police say 20-year-old Brandon Freyre sprayed the victim in the eyes with spray paint and threatened to kill her if she contacted authorities.

NEWARK, Delaware (WPVI) -- Protests have erupted at the University of Delaware after a female student was brutally attacked by her ex-boyfriend.

The Newark Police Department says the violence happened around 4 a.m. Friday on the 100 block of East Main Street.

Investigators say the victim and her ex-boyfriend, 20-year-old Brandon Freyre, got into a verbal argument that stemmed from a rocky breakup that turned violent over her attendance at a rival fraternity party.

During the argument, police say Freyre damaged property belonging to the victim.

Police say the argument escalated and Freyre hit the woman with blunt objects. He then sprayed her in the eyes with spray paint, police say, and threatened to kill her if she contacted authorities.

Charging documents also noted that Freyre's roommates were home at the time as the victim screamed for help, begging for the attack to stop.

Brandon Freyre
Newark Police Department

Police say Freyre then "strangled her to unconsciousness" and blocked her from leaving the apartment.

After approximately four hours, police say Freyre threw the victim down a flight of stairs.

The woman was able to flee the apartment and contact police.

She was treated at the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.

Police located Freyre in his Newark apartment and took him into custody without incident.

Freyre, of Arnold, Maryland, has been charged with kidnapping second degree, assault second degree, strangulation, terroristic threatening, assault third degree and criminal mischief.

His bail was set at $38,100. He is being held at the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington.

In a statement Tuesday, University of Delaware officials denounced the incident, describing it as domestic violence.

"The past few days have been difficult for the University of Delaware community. We are writing to acknowledge the harm inflicted, denounce the violence reported, and call for our community to come together and advance our goals of a campus climate free of all violence, including gender-based violence and violence against women," the statement read.

Protests have erupted over the violence.

A viral TikTok video showed students with signs raising awareness about domestic violence and calling on the university to speak out.

"Even though it was off campus it did occur between two University of Delaware students. And just, in general, promoting a more positive culture and safer culture on campus is really important," said sophomore and organizer Kiera Spann.

Another protest was held Wednesday in response to the assault.

Some students say the university should have addressed the incident more quickly.

"They did not speak up on the issue or say anything to our university body until after it had national attention, it was too little too late," Spann said.

The university says the Kappa Delta Rho fraternity, of which Freyre is a member, immediately reported the incident and has since revoked his membership.

"At this point, we do not have information that connects the fraternity with this specific incident," the university said.

The statement continued, "This recent, heinous incident of domestic violence reminds everyone in our community that we must be vigilant to uphold our values so that all can be safe here and pursue an education without the unjust burden of intimidation or threat to one's physical and emotional wellbeing and safety."