WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A mother who joined the Colorado State University (CSU) tour on Monday called the cops on two teen brothers because “they don’t belong.”
- The unnamed 911 caller told a dispatcher that the teens’ “behavior is just really odd”, and that “They’re definitely not a part of the tour.”
- The brothers who had traveled from New Mexico for the college tour eventually missed the rest of it.
In the latest episode to ignite outrage over racial profiling and needless calls to law enforcement in the U.S., a mother called the authorities on two Native American teens who were part of a college tour.
The call prompted university police to question Skanahwati Lloyd Gray, 17, and Kanewakeron Thomas Gray, 19, causing them to miss the rest of the tour.
The boys’ mother, Lorraine Kahneratokwas Gray, stated, “They were shocked. They were trying to figure out what they did wrong.”
A video released by the police showed the officers pulling them aside, commanding them to keep their “hands out” of their pockets.
Lorraine said her sons saved up money to drive seven hours to their “dream school”. When her son frantically called her about the police, she feared for her sons’ lives when she heard “the fear and disappointment in his voice.”
“It could have ended so much more tragically,” she added. “When he reached into his pocket, what if the cop thinks he has a gun and shoots him?”
The incident is just one of several accounts across the U.S., with police responding to calls mostly targeting African American patrons. Unarmed black men were even fatally shot by the police in two recent California cases.
The caller added that they appeared to be Hispanic and “just really stand out … They’re just creepy kids … It actually made me feel sick.”
Lorraine said it was obvious the caller “profiled” her sons, and pointed out that the situation could have been quickly resolved without them missing the rest of the tour.
Administrators stated, “This incident is sad and frustrating from nearly every angle, particularly the experience of two students who were here to see if this was a good fit for them as an institution.” They added that they would refund travel expenses and review “how such an incident can be avoided or handled differently in the future”.
Thomas and Lloyd were both musicians particularly interested in moving to Denver for its music scene. But now it’s uncertain if they would still consider CSU.
Lorraine said, “There’s a part of us that feels like we don’t ever want to go back there again. But maybe we feel an obligation to future generations to be pioneers in a sense, to make that presence and to effect that change. This just makes our fight even stronger. It’s personal now.”
Source: The Guardian