More incidents of 911 callers summoning police to confront and arrest Black people for everyday life events are popping up. Plainclothes officers confronted a Black employee who said that he was racially profiled at the University of Massachusetts Amherst after someone gave a description to police on Friday (Sept. 14).
The 911 caller, who was unidentified, told police that an “agitated Black male” with a “heavy backpack that [was] almost hitting the ground” was walking on campus near an administration building, the University of Massachusetts Amherst Police Department Chief Tyrone Parham said to campus newspaper Massachusetts Daily Collegian. As a result of the call, cops stopped the employee, Reginald Andrade, who has been working there for 14 years and is the consumer manager in the Disability Services office.
Officers questioned Andrade, who went to a campus gym with a duffel bag that morning before going to his office. “They did not tell me what was going on initially, they just kept asking me the questions,” the employee said. “And I just sat in my office chair. I was cool and calm and composed. I had no idea what they were questioning me about.”
Police officers also searched the administration building after the 911 call came in about a “threat.” Staff members said the caller’s description seemingly matched Andrade, and cops realized that the man worked in the building. Officers spoke with Andrade about “how the call came in” and needed to “confirm” if he was the employee named by staffers.
Andrade described the incident as racial profiling. “No one else gets racially profiled in my office, just me,” he said, connecting the incident to one that happened at Smith College in Massachusetts involving cops being called on a student who was eating lunch in July.
Concerns arose over the 911 caller’s description and if the person had an agenda in contacting police, Ed Blaguszewski, executive director of strategic communications at UMass, said. Police now want to identify and speak with the 911 caller.