A white woman who made headlines for summoning
plantation overseers police officers after she was threatened by an aggressively napping black woman has now taken up the mantle for criminal justice reform, criticizing law enforcement officials for being “hostile” and for refusing to release bodycam footage of the—
Hold up. Let me finish laughing and I’ll start over.
On May 7, 2018, Yale doctoral student Sarah Braasch called the police on Lolade Siyonbola, a black graduate student who was sleeping in the common room in the Hall of Graduate Studies. Braasch had called the police on Siyonbola and another black student at least once before, according to the Yale Daily News. Police questioned Siyonbola for fifteen minutes before graciously allowing her to exist in the space where she was paying room, board, and tuition.
After the incident made national news, the aspiring fugitive slave catcher painted herself as the victim of a vast negro conspiracy whose delicate white femininity was “destroyed by the Yale administration, the press and the global internet rage mob.” Oh, Roxane Gay was in on it, too.
Braasch eventually founded and became the lone member of the Sarah Lives Matter movement. According to the New Haven Register, on Monday, the self-appointed Rosa Parks of police callers testified at a Connecticut Freedom of Information Commission hearing, challenging the Yale Police Department to release the police footage of the incident because she claimed it would totally exonerate her. But Braasch’s may-I-speak-to-your-manager trick didn’t work; the police would only agree to let Braasch view the footage in their office.
“I just feel that the videos exonerate me and I feel that they expose Yale’s gross malfeasance,” Braasch said after the hearing. “I’ve been vilified on a global scale as somebody akin to a genocidal villain and I’ll never be able to get a job again.”
I stand with Sarah.
In the police shootings of Emantic “E.J.” Bradford, Willie McCoy, and Laquan McDonald, authorities have allowed family members to watch the bodycam footage in private while intentionally withholding video evidence from the public. I bet Sarah was furious at the prospect of being treated like a common negro. When she saw the video that proved she was had no malicious intent, I bet she—
She didn’t watch the video?
The Yale Police Department refused Braasch’s formal Freedom of Information request but offered to set up a time for Braasch to view the video. In a move commonly known as “white-womaning,” Braasch declined the offer to watch the tape. She wants to release it on the internet and says if she can’t have it her way, she will continue to cry profusely on YouTube until her dripping mascara poisons the entire country’s water table.
The police say that state law prohibits them from releasing footage of people who have not committed a crime. Because most of the footage is their questioning of Siyonbola, they would not violate her rights, according to Yale Police Chief Ronnell Higgins.
Higgins said Braasch initially called the nonemergency line and reported an intruder and that she was being harassed. But when they arrived, Siyonbola had her student I.D., keys to the building, the elevator and other areas.
“We determined that there was no trespass because the other woman was in the common room sleeping,” Higgins said. “It’s common for students to fall asleep while studying for finals.”
But even though Braasch hasn’t seen the video, she contends that she feels like it would exonerate her, adding that the “supervising officer who came late to the scene...was very hostile to me...He began berating me and I found his behavior to be very hostile...I was the harasser instead of the person being harassed.”
If this is true, I’d bet there were people who’d be afraid when the police showed up, even if they were innocent. Who could imagine the police showing up and being hostile and aggressive to someone who hadn’t even committed a crime?
Aside from the black woman who woke up to badges in her face.
Ever since she called the police on a person minding their own business, Braasch claims that she has been subjected to harassment and ridicule. She thinks the videos would end the situation that she brought on her goddamn self by requesting a police proxy to harass and ridicule a black woman who was probably dreaming of a world where privileged white women didn’t exist.
“I really just wanted, as I’ve said multiple times, the only thing I wanted was to be left alone and in peace to finish my dissertation work,” Braasch said unironically before—and these are not my words—breaking into tears. “I just wanted to be left alone. I wanted the harassment to stop,” Braasch said. “I would never in a million years want to ruin someone’s life. I would never in a million years want someone to have an arrest record. I had zero thoughts of wanting the person arrested.”
Well, why the fuck did you call the police, then Sarah?
Since the incident, Sarah said she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and constant harassment. Or, as some experts might call her condition: