Updated: February 09, 2021 12:53 PM
Created: February 09, 2021 11:19 AM
The University of Minnesota's Department of Public Safety is addressing allegations that an officer exhibited "bias, racism and misconduct" during an interaction with an individual.
The department released dashcam footage of the incident for transparency.
"To promote public safety and dispel any misunderstandings, UMPD believes that the public should see and hear what actually occurred," the department said in a statement, in part.
The department received a call reporting a robbery at about 1:36 a.m. on Feb. 1. Officers met with the victims who confirmed they were robbed by two suspects armed with guns.
The dashcam video shows a brief conversation with an individual on Feb. 1 at about 1:42 a.m., involving two officers in a UMPD squad car. The officers believed the individual possibly matched a suspect description given by witnesses, and the person was about a block away from the robbery. After officers realized the person wasn't a suspect, they drove off without any incident occurring.
According to the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association (MPPOA), after the encounter, University of Minnesota student Nikil Badey posted an account of the interaction on his Instagram account, which MPPOA called factually inaccurate. Badey urged others to contact University Board of Regents leaders on "racially profiling and harassing" and said he was "immediately criminalized" through this pre-written email campaign against UMPD.
"The truth is clear from the officer's dash camera video: Mr. Badey's encounter was extremely courteous and respectful," MPPOA Executive Director Brian Peters said on Tuesday. "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."
The MPPOA and Law Enforcement Labor Services have asked Badey to publicly apologize to the UMPD officers for his dishonest statements; end his email campaign to the Board of Regents against UMPD due to false allegations; read the University of Minnesota's Student Conduct Code, particularly Section IV, Subsection 3 (Falsification), Subsection 5 (Attempt to Injure or Defraud), and Subsection 9 (Disorderly Conduct); and consider meeting with UMPD in further dialogue on ways the community can work together for a safer campus for all.
"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 Mortensen said.
Badey's full statement of the incident on Instagram is transcribed below.
"Last night, after finishing up my homework and honestly wrapping up a pretty long week, I wanted to go take a walk outside."
I was returning back home when I saw that there was a police car. Instinctively, a couple thoughts rushed to my mind: breathe, head up, don't walk too fast - not too slow, be normal. I took my mask off, I took my cap off, and I made sure that if anything happened that they were able to see my face. Next to me, there was a white man with his mask off, walking his dog, wearing a black coat as well. I felt safe that there was another presence there and could see the cop cars at the corner of my eyes.
I turned the corner around 5th and 12th and saw sirens going off. Immediately, squad cars pulled on all the sides and cornered me where I couldn't escape or speak. The cop got out of his car and asked me all sorts of information, but the only thing I could think of was: what did I do wrong other than the fact I was a brown man. There were two cops behind me - hands on their guns. I had my hands up and was struggling to find the words I always had thought I'd say if I was EVER in that situation but all I could think of: one sudden move and I would be shot.
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.
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. What if that was another black or brown man not able to prove their identity or maybe they were in the wrong place at the wrong time - what then? We can't keep sending armed police as a solution for student safety or community safety. If anything, that was the most traumatic thing I have ever experienced from the people who are supposed to be there for me. No. Defund these bastards."
He then sent out a call for action:
"Call to action: My story won't be the first and my story will certainly not be the last, but this story can be the change and catalyst to show that enough is enough. Our community is strong to enact the changes that we want to see. We have the ability to ensure our BIPOC community members never have to fear going out, even for a walk at night."
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.
Z.umn.edu/umpdblast (link in bio) is an auto-populated email that have the emails of the administrators that can hold UMPD accountable. All you have to do: send.
Speak up. Act Now. Send."
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