The University of Ottawa is investigating after a black student who had been skateboarding said he was stopped by campus security, carded, then handcuffed for two hours.
The student, Jamal Boyce, shared a video to Twitter documenting the incident. In the video, members of campus security can be heard demanding that Boyce provide identification or leave the university grounds.
“After letting them know that I didn’t have my wallet on me and trying to walk away they followed me, hit my phone to the ground as I tried to record, grabbed me and put me in handcuffs,” Boyce wrote on Twitter of the incident.
Other students corroborated Boyce’s story on social media.
“UOttawa security just stopped and carded a black man for skateboarding on campus,” UOttawa PhD student Christopher Kelly-Bisson wrote on Twitter. “Ottawa Police is now here and have him detained in the back of a cruiser. Worse of all, a white guy just skateboarded by & cops/security didn’t even look at him.”
Carding refers to a police practice of targeted stopping and asking for identification from minority communities, often black men. Despite telling the officers he was a student on his way to his office and that he would stop skateboarding, Boyce was detained for over two hours before being released.
He could not be reached for comment by HuffPost.
This is not the first time campus security at UOttawa have been accused of racial profiling. After Boyce shared the encounter on social media, other members of the UOttawa stepped forward to share their own experiences, pointing to systemic problems.
UOttawa law professor Amir Attaran shared a video where a campus security officer entered his office after an apparent 9-11 call, and demanded a PhD student working with him produce identification.
“When I see poor [Boyce] being arrested just for refusing carding, I know I could have been arrested too, had I not let it slip that I am a law professor,” Attaran wrote on Twitter.
In a statement Friday, UOttawa president and vice-chancellor Jacques Fremont said the university will launch both internal and external investigations into the incident.
“Racism, discrimination and harassment cannot be tolerated in our society or at an institution whose mandate is to prepare a future generation of leaders,” the statement read. “We must lead by example and make all possible efforts to call out and eliminate systemic patterns of discrimination.”
Fremont said that ultimately, he wants to ensure every person at UOttawa feels safe.
“The dignity of our community members must be respected.”
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