Two North Carolina A&T State University officers have sparked major outrage from students as well as social media following the surfacing of a video, which shows the officers violently handcuffing student Verdant Julius, who is also the 2020 Sophomore Class President. The video, uploaded by a Twitter user named yoitstryll, shows the student questioning why he is being arrested, prior to being thrown on the ground and placed in handcuffs.
After telling the person recording the footage to “take his keys,” one of the officers, who is Black, tells Julius, “If you resist, I’ma mace you.” Julius replied, while being being manhandled, “You’re honestly ridiculous. We could have this conversation…” He then asked the officers why they were using such forceful aggression. The person recording the footage also asked the officers to remove their hands from around Julius’ neck.
The two officers pushed Julius into a wall. The Black officer then says, “Put him on the ground.” Shortly after, the officers throw Julius down, pushing his head into the ground before placing him in handcuffs.
“I promise y’all, you guys are fired,” Julius said to the officers, while one had his hand on the student’s neck.
While the backstory was not immediately provided, a follow-up tweet from the student who record the footage revealed that a petition was put in place calling for #JusticeForVerdant.
“Thank you guys for your support. The most important thing is that we tell the true story. We have started a petition for Verdant that includes a list of demands. Please continue to support us by signing the petition as we move forward with the next steps,” the tweet said.
The petition went on to explain exactly what happened, prior to Julius’ arrest.
“Early on March 18, at the McCain residence hall at NC A&T, three students, including myself and Verdant Julius, were asked to show our Campus IDs, AggieOne cards, and individually swipe into Mccain hall by a security guard upon entry into our on-campus dorm. Upon this request, We showed our IDs and swiped into the hall. The security guard and police officer asked the third person in our group to leave because McCain Hall wasn’t her dorm,” the petition said.
It continued, “When learning this, Verdant and I asked the officer the issue, the officer states, something very close to, “If you take one step closer I am going to have you arrested for obstruction of an investigation.” This alarms us all, because we didn’t understand what was being investigated, moments later in the conversation the officer proceeds to violently arrest Verdant who was posing no threat, stating ‘if you resist, I am going to mase [sic] you.’”
The petition has three demands: “drop all charges against Verdant Julius,” “issue a statement correcting the actions of the officers in question,” and “create a Police Review Board, made up of the community served by the Department, to review hires and complaints.”
The petition is just 200 signatures shy of its’ 4,000 goal.
Following the incident, the university tweeted that they are aware of what transpired and are conducting an investigation. “We are aware of the video circulating this morning on #NCAT and online. We are examining all of the information related to this incident, including facts not represented in the video. A full investigation is underway,” said the ncatsuaggies Twitter page.
This, however, is not the first time a member of N.C. A&T’s security has gone too far in abusing their power. Last September, a security guard at the university was placed on leave after a 15-second video began circulating social media of the guard punching a student in the neck at the university’s student center, according to Greenboro’s News & Record.
It was not clear in the video footage what prompted the incident. Nonetheless, the university’s police chief Charles Wilson said that “the security guard has been placed on administrative leave with pay while the department investigates,” according to the report.