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A group of 10 Black students has sadly discovered that they are not safe from police while in college. An internal investigation was launched after the students were stopped by cops and wrongfully accused of having an unpaid bill at an IHOP in Clayton, Missouri, police said Monday, July 16.

The freshmen, who were unidentified, attended a summer start program at Washington University, which sits at the boundary of St. Louis and Clayton. They walked to IHOP for a late night meal and paid their bill on July 8. However, they were tracked down by officers in multiple squad cars after a restaurant manager issued a complaint about young Black males dining and dashing without settling a $62 bill, The Associated Press reported.

There were six squad cars that followed the students, the university said. Only four cars were named in the incident, according to St. Louis police.

The incident comes at a time when the nation is on high alert about racial profiling incidents that involve cops being called on people of color.

The students were cooperative with police and showed their IHOP receipts to officers. They even agreed to walk back to the restaurant and talk with the manager who issued the complaint. After all was said and done, the manager defended the students as innocent and said other customers had left the unpaid bill. However, the damage had been done.

“The fact that these 10 students, all of whom are African American, were scared and humiliated is unacceptable to us,” Washington University Vice Chancellor for Public Affairs Jill Friedman said in a statement Monday. “It is extremely disappointing that they have been so seriously let down, even before the official start of their first semester.”

Incidents such as this one further show that there are not many safe spaces for students of color at or near colleges and universities.

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