ABlack Washington University freshman who was wrongfully accused of dining and dashing at an IHOP in Clayton, Missouri spoke his peace about the profiling incident on Thursday, July 19.
“It kind of brought me to a realization. I studied racism for the past few years since the beginning of high school,” Teddy Washington said to CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota after agreeing with her that police were skeptical of the group and had tried to “pull over” African-American males based on a profile they had been given.
“It brought a situation where I am a lot more present and aware of the presence of racism in our society,” Washington said. “I also think that it happening in St. Louis didn’t surprise me as far as the history of St. Louis. I think in this moment I know that … I have a voice and I can make some changes. My next move is to do what I can to make the world a better place to live in. I think this is a good start.”
Washington, along with nine other African-American students, were thrust into the national spotlight when police stopped them after receiving a complaint from an IHOP manager about about five Black men having skipped out on a $62 bill on July 8. After Washington and the rest of the group had a late-night meal and paid their bill, they exited the restaurant. They were confronted by officers in multiple squad cars who thought they were the African-American customers who had dined and dashed, The Associated Press reported.
Police told them about the situation at IHOP, asked if they came from the restaurant and if they would show their receipts as proof of payment, Washington told CNN. The students were then marched back to IHOP by police with squad cars following them. The IHOP manager told police that the young men were not the group that dashed and dined before cops let them go.
An internal investigation was launched into the incident, St. Louis police said Monday.
The names of the other students involved in the incident have not been made public. However, the “humilation” that the students, who are in a summer start program, experienced has been addressed by Washington University officials.
“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.
No word yet on if Washington and the other students plan to file a complaint.