A group of students at the University of Southern California is holding a sit-in Monday afternoon to protest what they call racial profiling by Los Angeles police at a graduation party on Saturday.
“Most people were dispersing and leaving,” the party’s host, student Nate Howard, told KCBS-TV on Sunday. “But then [police] came back and started telling everybody to get out. That’s eventually what people started to do until they started to get crazy.”
Authorities said they responded to a noise complaint regarding Howard’s party around 2 a.m. Saturday night and called for backup after partygoers began throwing bottles at them. Howard — who was one of six people arrested Saturday night — said police targeted his event because himself and most of the attendees were black and Latino, while letting a nearby party attended by white students go on without incident.
“They told [the white students] to stay in the house and be safe,” Howard said. “While us over here, majority students of color, we were dispersed out of my house and everywhere.”
One of the students who attended the other event, Sarah Tither-Kaplan, corroborated Howard’s account.
“Our party was Caucasian students and their party was predominately black students,” she told the station. “Basically [campus police] and LAPD didn’t stop our party at all. They had no problem with us. They didn’t shut us down.”
Another attendee, Lamar Gary, filmed what he called a group of nearly 80 officers assembled in riot gear outside the party and posted it online.
“We were having fun at a college party,” Gray said in the video. “No one had a gun. It was straight up college students. IDs were checked at this party. No one had a gun. There are 79 LAPD officers right now. I want you to realize there are 79 LAPD officers right now.”
According to the student newspaper, The Daily Trojan, students have organized a sit-in for 3 p.m. EST on Monday at the site of the Tommy Trojan statue on campus. Campus officials and police will hold an on-campus forum on racial profiling scheduled for Tuesday evening.
Watch KCBS’ report on students’ dissatisfaction with police response, aired Sunday, below.