Hundreds of Washington D.C. activists are outraged after a group of policeman aggressively handcuffed Howard University freshman for making a White woman feel “uncomfortable.”
According to The Washington Post, Jason Goolsby, 18, and his friend, a high school senior whose name is reportedly Mike Brown, were standing outside of an ATM vestibule on Monday evening when a White woman pushing a stroller approached the bank. Goolsby held the door open for her, but lingered outside because he had just learned his studio session was canceled and was deliberating whether he needed to withdraw money. It was while he was deciding that the unnamed woman called 911 to report the teen.
According to the 911 call, the woman said that the two teens were “waiting at the door to let people in, but aren’t doing anything inside of the bank,” adding that their behavior was suspicious. She said that she opted to leave the ATM because she felt that if she withdrew money, then she would have been robbed.
As Goolsby, unaware of the call, and his friend began walking away, they were approached by multiple police cars. The two boys began running, but officers caught up with them three blocks later. Two officers tackled Goolsby, ordering him to stop resisting and reportedly offering no explanation other than he had made the woman at the ATM feel uncomfortable. He was handcuffed, but eventually released.
Goolsby told the Post that he has not received an apology from the department.
“This whole thing is making my head spin,” he said.
Goolsby friend recorded a portion of the encounter, which has made the Internet rounds and angered thousands of activists.
“If you’re Black, you’re an automatic threat,” Erika Totten, local activist and Goolsby’s former high school teacher, told the Post. “That’s the reality of the world we live in, and it’s supported by the justice system.”
Today we we’re harassed and assaulted because ” someone felt uncomfortable around us ” in a bank . RETWEET!! pic.twitter.com/E2XZaOgJgM
— #justiceforjason (@darealbighomiee) October 13, 2015