A New York Times columnist is “fuming” after his son was stopped and detained by police outside the library at Yale University.
Charles M. Blow posted a series of tweets Saturday night on his Twitter account after his son called him to report the incident.
“So, my son, a 3rd year (biology) major at Yale was just accosted – at GUN POINT – by a Yale policeman bc he “fit the description” of a suspect…” Blow tweeted.
“He was let go when they realized he was a college student and not a criminal (he was leaving the library!) He’s shaken, but I’m fuming!” he added.
Blow addressed the incident in his column posted online Sunday night, including more details from his son, who said he noticed an officer jogging toward him as he left the library.
“I did not pay him any mind, and continued to walk back towards my room,” said Tahj Blow. “I looked behind me, and noticed that the police officer was following me. He spoke into his shoulder-mounted radio and said, ‘I got him.’”
“I faced forward again, presuming that the officer was not talking to me,” he continued. “I then heard him say, ‘Hey, turn around!’ — which I did.”
The younger Blow said the officer ordered him to the ground at gunpoint shortly before 6 p.m. Saturday and initially decided to let him go after briefly questioning him.
But then a voice on the police radio ordered the officer to hold him until they got the situation “sorted out,” and a female officer told Tahj Blow that he fit the description of a burglary suspect.
That suspect, whose name has not been released, was arrested later in the area.
University officials said several students reported a burglary at a residence hall and described the suspect as a black man wearing a black jacket and red and white hat, but Charles Blow said he doubted a white student would have been detained at gunpoint under similar circumstances.
“This is exactly why I have NO PATIENCE for ppl trying to convince me that the fear these young blk men feel isn’t real #RacialBattleFatigue,” the columnist tweeted.
Charles Blow said he had no problem with officers stopping his son and questioning him as part of their investigation, if he did indeed match the suspect description.
But he did not understand why a gun was drawn immediately and wondered why officers didn’t tell him why he was being detained.
“What if my son had panicked under the stress, having never had a gun pointed at him before, and made what the officer considered a ‘suspicious’ movement?” Blow said. “Had I come close to losing him? Triggers cannot be unpulled. Bullets cannot be called back.”