Charles M. Blow (pictured), a respected New York Times columnist posted a series of distressed tweets to his over 123, ooo Twitter followers on Saturday, explaining that his son, Tahj Blow, a junior at Yale, informed him about a school police officer who mistook him for a burglary suspect and drew a gun on him as he exited his school’s library.
Tahj, a third year biology major at the prestigious univeristy, said had just walked out of the school’s library when he noticed an officer jogging towards him. “I did not pay him any mind, and continued to walk back towards my room,” Blow recounts in his column, according to Tahj. “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. I then heard him say, ‘Hey, turn around!’ — which I did.”
Blow wrote that his son was then faced with a harrowing situation, the officer whipped out his gun and reportedly ordered him to hit the ground. Tahj was questioned by the officer and held until the situation had been “sorted out” by police. After questioning Tahj and realizing he was not in fact the burglary suspect they had been seeking, the youth was released.
The suspect, who is reportedly a “tall African American man” was later apprehended.
Meanwhile, Blow tweeted that he is annoyed by people who say that young black men have nothing to fear in encounters with law enforcement. “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,” Blow tweeted.
Blow says he did not have a problem with his son being questioned as part of the police investigation process but raises the question: was drawing a gun necessary in Tahj’s situation? The frustrated and fuming father also wondered in his bi-weekly op-ed colum. And, why his son was reportedly never informed as to why he was being held?
“Why not ask for ID first?,” said Blow in his column which was published on Monday. “My son was unarmed, possessed no plunder, obeyed all instructions, answered all questions, did not attempt to flee or resist in any way. This is the scenario I have always dreaded: my son at the wrong end of a gun barrel, face down on the concrete. I had always dreaded the moment that we would share stories about encounters with the police in which our lives hung in the balance, intergenerational stories of joining the inglorious “club.”
Further, “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? Had I come close to losing him? Triggers cannot be unpulled. Bullets cannot be called back.”
According to Blow, the dean of Yale College and police department have apologized and agreed to conduct an internal investigation. But despite all of the pacifying moves, Blow states in his column, “…the scars cannot be unmade. My son will always carry the memory of the day he left his college library and an officer trained a gun on him.”
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