Minn. police video contradicts college student who alleged racial bias

A student's Instagram post sparked outcry, but dashcam video appears to refute some of his claims


By Suzie Ziegler 

MINNEAPOLIS — On Wednesday, a university police department released video that appears to refute some claims made by a student who, in an Instagram post, accused campus police of racial bias. 

The image shows a screenshot of an Instagram post obtained by Minneapolis radio station Twin Cities News. The post is written by an unnamed University of Minnesota student and describes an interaction that student had with police.
The image shows a screenshot of an Instagram post obtained by Minneapolis radio station Twin Cities News. The post is written by an unnamed University of Minnesota student and describes an interaction that student had with police. (Twin Cities News)

It all began on Feb. 1 when officers approached a man who they believed fit the suspect description for an armed robbery that happened earlier that night.

The man identified himself as a student at the University of Minnesota and officers determined he was not a suspect. But the student’s subsequent Instagram post about the incident varies from dashcam video released by campus police.

In the Instagram post, the student says he believes officers targeted him as “a brown man.” Twin Cities News obtained a photo of the full Instagram post. The student’s name has not been publicly released. 

“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,” the student writes in part. “After multiple questions, they turned off their lights and left me alone: no apology, no explanation, nothing.” 

The post ends with a call to hold university administrators accountable and defund the campus police department. 

In response to community outcry, campus police released a statement refuting some of the student’s claims, along with a dashcam video and transcript of the interaction.  

“Allegations have been made that UMPD officers exhibited bias, racism and misconduct during this interaction,” the agency said in the statement. “To promote public safety and dispel any misunderstandings, UMPD believes that the public should see and hear what actually occurred.” 

Officials did not release any body camera video. The student and officers are not visible from the dashcam.

 

Below is a partial transcript released by UMPD. 

Squad 1830 (Officer 1): Hey, how’s it going? 

Unidentified Person: [inaudible] 

Squad 1830 (Officer 1): You just walking home? Did you see anything occur today or tonight a couple of minutes ago or so? 

Unidentified Person: [inaudible] 

Squad 1830 (Officer 1): Ah, we just had a robbery of a person and you kinda match the description, as far as someone wearing a dark hoodie. 

Unidentified Person: Oh no, oh no ..[inaudible] .. I swear. 

Squad 1830 (Officer 1): U of M 1830 it’s not going to be the party. Okay 

Unidentified Person: I am a University of Minnesota student 

Dispatch Background: 1830 copy, if you can get back on the Minneapolis channel 

Squad 1830 (Officer 1): Okay no, I believe you, I appreciate it, you are good to go. We just have a lot of cars around here 

Squad 1830 (Officer 2): You’re good man, you’re good. 

Squad 1830 (Officer 1): Alright sorry about that man, we just had a robbery that occurred in this location and whatnot, so were are just checking it out, we just wanted to chat with you. See a lot of cars out here. You’re free to go. Where you living at these days? 

Unidentified Person: I am a CA, [inaudible] 

Squad 1830 (Officer 1): Okay, well you have a good night. 

Unidentified Person: Would you mind giving me a ride? 

Squad 1830 (Officer 1): No, I can’t, I can’t give you a ride. 

Unidentified Person: Okay, thank you 

Squad 1830 (Officer 1): Thank you 

Click here to read the full transcript of the interaction.

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