Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2018; 2:01 EDT: Seems as if Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and the city of Clayton, Mo., are not agreeing as to what went down earlier this month when Clayton police stopped 10 black students and falsely accusing them of leaving a local IHOP without paying.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, on Monday night the city of Clayton posted a timeline of events related to the stop on its timeline, but the university has released its own statement
essentially calling the city bald-faced liars saying the details of the timeline the city gave are incorrect.
Jill Friedman, vice chancellor for public affairs at Washington U released a statement firmly standing by the students. Friedman declined to go into detail about what the city got wrong in its rundown, but reiterating that the school and the students expected a direct and clear apology.
We reiterate the statement we shared yesterday: the incident that occurred on July 7 involving 10 of our incoming first-year students is unacceptable. We are not going to publicly dispute the timeline. We will continue to work directly with the City of Clayton to resolve our differences of opinion regarding these details and, more importantly, to work toward an acceptable resolution for our students including a direct and clear apology.
Our concern is not about the timeline. Our concern is about the way in which this incident has affected our students personally. They were embarrassed. They were scared. And they were humiliated because they were wrongly accused of committing a crime, detained, and made to feel powerless. At a minimum, if their identity had to be confirmed, there is a police protocol that should have been followed that would have kept our students in place.
At Washington University, we have been working very hard to build a community where everyone feels welcome and included. When situations like this occur, we have to speak up and speak out so that everyone can learn from it and do better going forward
You’re probably wondering what exactly the city said of the incident...and trust me, they tried to make it sound as innocuous as possible.
A Clayton officer contacted the individuals and observed that there were several individuals meeting the description, including African American males in white shirts, black pants, and one individual wearing red. Members of the group were carrying bags and upon closer inspection, the officer identified that the bags were labeled from IHOP. To confirm, the officer asked if they had just dined at IHOP and the group confirmed that they just left the restaurant. The officer explained that a call was made to report a theft.
Three receipts from the group of ten individuals were presented. Two of the individuals, one wearing white and one wearing red, stated they paid cash for their meals and presented no receipts. Two individuals offered to walk back to the restaurant to confirm their payment with the restaurant. The group then proceeded north on Brentwood toward IHOP, while remaining on the west side of the roadway until crossing at Clayton Road and Brentwood Boulevard. Two police vehicles then parked on the east side of the roadway until the individuals reached the IHOP parking lot.
Upon returning to IHOP, the manager confirmed they were not the suspects and the officer expressed appreciation for their time
Again, it’s anyone’s guess what issue the school has taken with the city’s description events, but one thing is sure. Jill Friedman said what she said...and the school, again, is still waiting on an apology.
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.