Police called on black UMass employee walking to work

AMHERST, Mass. (AP) — A longtime employee of the University of Massachusetts Amherst who says he was questioned by plainclothes officers after someone called police to report an "agitated" black male on campus said he was clearly a victim of racial profiling.

Reginald Andrade was following his normal daily routine Friday, walking from his morning workout to his job in the disability office in the university's Whitmore Administration Building, he told The Daily Hampshire Gazette.

An unidentified person called the university's anonymous tip line to report an agitated black man carrying a low-hanging duffel bag, according to a transcript of the call.

Two officers questioned Andrade without telling him why, said Andrade, who has worked at the university for 14 years. The building was locked down for about 30 minutes.

"How can somebody just walk by me, not even speaking, and try to discern that I was agitated?" Andrade said. "This is when it becomes dangerous, when people know how to push the buttons of law enforcement."

He called the entire episode "extremely nerve-wracking."

Campus Police Chief Tyrone Parham told The Massachusetts Daily Collegian student newspaper, which first reported the conflict, that investigators focused on the reported behavior and not the race.

He said the officers were professional and low key.

UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy said he hoped the call was motivated by a desire to protect public safety.

"We are living at the intersection of two very trying issues," Subbaswamy wrote in an email to campus. "We must all do our part to respond quickly to perceived threats of potential violence on campus, and we must build an inclusive community that respects everyone and rejects profiling."

The encounter at UMass came just weeks after a black student at nearby Smith College was approached by a campus officer after police received a report that the student seemed "out of place" while eating lunch.

 

READER COMMENTS

Loading comments...
Hide Comments

Stories that may interest you

Report: Minority drivers in Conn. stopped at disproportionate rates

A new report says black and Hispanic drivers in Connecticut continue to be stopped by police at disproportionately high rates and are treated more harshly than whites in many cases after being pulled over


Manchester votes to change school's Indians nickname

A Connecticut city is dropping its high school's Indians nickname following a months-long campaign by students who called it a caricature that perpetuates stereotypes


GOP keeps J.R. Romano as its state chairman

J.R. Romano was elected Tuesday to a third two-year term as state chairman of Connecticut Republican Party, surviving a challenge over the degree to which he bears responsibility for a disastrous 2018 election cycle.


State budget relies on $180M in tax receipts beyond projections

The new $43.4 billion, two-year plan awaiting Gov. Ned Lamont’s signature assumes $180 million in income tax receipts that neither Lamont’s analysts — nor the legislature’s — projected in their last joint forecast.

TRENDING

PODCASTS