Police Falsely Accuse Black Students of Dining-and-Dashing

July 18, 2018

We are sick of 'apologies'.  

Another day, another just-existing while black incident, where ten Washington University students — all black and incoming freshmen — got the welcome of their lives at a Clayton, Mo., IHOP after they were accused of dining and dashing.


Well, the “dashing” part is a strong reach. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the students were stopped by Clayton police earlier this month while walking to a MetroLink stop after their late-night dinner. That was when the students were told that they were being accused of leaving the IHOP restaurant without paying.

This is where it gets better (and by better, I mean invariably unconscionable). Some of the students presented their receipts to show that they had indeed paid for their meals, nonetheless, the police made them walk all the way back to the restaurant, following them with six squad cars. However, when they reached the restaurant, the manager informed officers that they had the wrong people, and they were not the ones who had left without paying.


The officers then dismissed them without apology.


So you can probably guess what happened, at least in the officers’ case here. The only word cops seemed to have pick up on was “black” and gathered the first group of black kids they could find, again despite the fact that these students presented receipts.


“Needless to say, the students were shaken and upset,” Rob Wild, associate vice chancellor for student transition and engagement wrote in an email last week to other administrators at Washington University. “This is obviously extremely disappointing. Not how any of us would like to welcome our new students.”  Wild said in his email that the students “did not really appear to fit the description of the suspects other than being black.”


Things follow the script pretty much from here, with Clayton Police Chief Kevin R. Murphy saying that there is currently an ongoing internal review, which began before university officials contacted him. Murphy met on Thursday with five administrators from the university to discuss what happened, and Murphy also offered to meet with the students, which will probably happen this week.


“Certainly, I’m sorry they were inconvenienced and anxious about what happened. That was not our intent,” Murphy said.


University Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Jill Friedman issued a statement to the Post-Dispatch noting:


“We are deeply concerned and disappointed that anyone — certainly any of our students — would experience what transpired...The fact that these 10 students, all of whom are African-American, were scared and humiliated is unacceptable to us. We have shared that sentiment directly with the City of Clayton and have had an opportunity to meet with city leaders to reiterate our concerns. Conversations continue, and we are hopeful that our students will hear directly from the City of Clayton with both an explanation and an apology.”


Chancellor Mark Wrighton doubled down on Friedman’s statement, also demanding an explanation and an apology.


“I want to be very clear. This situation is unacceptable,” he said. “It runs counter to our university’s core values of mutual respect, understanding and inclusion. We will not tolerate this kind of behavior on our own campuses and we expect it will be addressed appropriately elsewhere.”


“Our expectation is that our students will hear directly from the City of Clayton for both an explanation and an apology,” he added.




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