Police leaders are calling for an apology after a University of Minnesota student falsely accused campus police of mistreating him because of his race.
Earlier this month, a student posted on Instagram that he was stopped by campus police because he is “a brown man” and said he was afraid he “would be shot.”
Officers with the University of Minnesota Police Department were searching for a suspect in an armed robbery just before 2 a.m. on Feb. 1 and believed the student in question matched the suspect’s description. The student was stopped about a block away from the site of the robbery.
“I was able to show the officer my University ID saying that I was a university student just trying to clear my mind by taking a late night stroll but they wouldn’t believe me. After multiple questions, they turned off their lights and left me alone: no apology, no explanation, nothing. Just me: mentally and emotionally tormented with an experience that will last a lifetime,” the student said, claiming he had his “hands up” while the officers had their “hands on their guns.”
He concluded his post by calling the situation the “most traumatic thing” he has “ever experienced.”
“Now, after having some time to think about this, to process, and to come to the senses that the thing/the situation that I hoped would never happen to me — happened. It was brutal,” said the student.
The student has since deleted the post — and seemingly his Instagram account, too — but Twin Cities News Talk obtained a screenshot.
According to the radio station, the student then encouraged his followers to email school administrators so that they could hold campus police “accountable.”
“So many of you have reached out to me showing your love and asking how you can help. Now, here is your call to action: send an email to UMN admin and use your voice to show that this is not acceptable. That the UMPD needs to be held accountable,” the student said.
In response, the school’s Department of Public Safety released a dashcam video and transcript of the incident. The video shows that the officers immediately believed the student, apologized to him, and explained why he was stopped. It also appears that the officers initially thought the student was white.
The full encounter lasted just over a minute.
“Allegations have been made that UMPD officers exhibited bias, racism and misconduct during this interaction. To promote public safety and dispel any misunderstandings, UMPD believes that the public should see and hear what actually occurred,” the Department of Public Safety said.
The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association and Law Enforcement Labor Services are now calling on the student, whom they identified as Nikil Badey, to apologize for his “dishonest statements” and “end his email campaign.”
“The truth is clear from the officer’s dash camera video: Mr. Badey’s encounter was extremely courteous and respectful. We’re frustrated that an elected student leader would purposefully choose to stir further division against police on social media using false statements and fabrications. This is irresponsible and further divides the campus culture on safety and community,” Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association Executive Director Brian Peters said in a statement.
The school newspaper’s account of the incident identifies Badey as a “student government leader” and he told police that he is a community advisor.
“Everyone deserves to be safe, and false accusations against law enforcement only incites unnecessary fear and minimizes the positive ways law enforcement helps our communities. Thank you to the UMPD for their wonderful work searching for the armed burglar on campus,” Law Enforcement Labor Services Executive Director Jim Mortenson said.