It's happened again - a white person has called the police on a black man for simply trying to study.
On October 10, Juán-Pabló Gonźalez, a black student at Catholic University of America, Washington DC, decided he wanted to study at the university's law library, reports The Root.
Gonźalez had been correctly informed that as a Master of Library and Information Sciences student, he had access to use the law library. He had also used the faculty to study on numerous occasions before, with no trouble.
Despite needing to swipe his ID card to access the library, Gonźalez told The Root that his card never worked for that particular building, so he decided to buzz in instead.
It was at this point that the white female librarian, identified as law student Brittany McNurlin, got angry and eventually called the police.
Speaking to the publication, he said:
I had just been ringing the buzzer, waiting for them to buzz me in and then showing them my ID to prove I was a library information science student.
And I was able to get in without any issues.
On 10 October, the door was reportedly propped open, so he walked through and showed the on-duty librarian his ID card instead. Unfortunately, things didn't go well from there. Gonźalez revealed:
She said: 'The law library is for law library students.’ So I told her that I realised that, but that we’d been given permission to use the library.
Gonźalez then tried to tell McNurlin that he had spoken to the librarian at the faculty, but that he had forgotten their name. However, McNurlin refused him entry again.
At that point, McNurlin agreed to give Gonźalez access to the library, however that she'd leave a note explaining that she'd allowed him access, reports The Root.
However, because the whole discussion had been so negative, Gonźalez decided to go back to the desk, and request the name of McNurlin's supervisor.
When she finally relented and gave him the librarian's business card, she said that Gonźalez had been argumentative and that she didn't like his tone. She then called the Catholic University police, and Gonźalez started filming. The video, which he posted to YouTube, has since had more than 40,000 views.
When questioned on why their back-and-forth warranted a police call, McNurlin answered:
I’ve answered your questions. You didn’t appreciate my answers.
Gonźalez reports that at least seven officers arrived, before he was forced to leave the law library.
Despite being members of the university police, Catholic University describes its police officers as:
Campus special police officers are appointed by the chief of police of the Metropolitan Police Department under the provisions of the D.C. Official Code to protect the campus property of an academic institution of higher education.
Campus special police officers have full police authority, including arrest power, on the premises they are assigned to protect or outside of the premises in fresh pursuit for offences committed on the premises.
Persons arrested by campus special police officers are transported to a facility of the Metropolitan Police Department for processing.
Gonźalez also reports that this isn't the first time he's experienced racism at the university. Speaking to The Root, he alleges that he had a note with the 'N-word' slipped under his dormitory door, and that the police had been called on 'two suspicious black males' standing outside their own dorm.
He also alleges that when he informed human recourse officials at the university, they dismissed his claims until he can show video evidence. He also alleges that when he filed a complaint against McNurlin, the university simply responded that it required her to have 'extra training', reports The Root.
The incident has sparked the use of the hashtag #StudyingWhileBlack on social media. The woman has also been given the epithets 'Laura the Librarian' and 'Becky the Book Bouncer'. It is the latest in a string of incidents in America where white people have called the police on black people for simply going about their day.
Watch the whole exchange here:
indy100 has contacted Catholic University for comment.
HT The Root
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