A black Yale University graduate student was taking a nap while studying for finals in a common room in her dorm when a white Ph.D student who also lives in the building woke her up and called the police on her. Lolade Siyonbola recorded her interaction with the other student, Sarah Braasch, along with the four responding police officers, and that video has gone viral after it was posted to Facebook.
It is the latest in a string of troubling incidents of white people calling 911 on people of color for questionable reasons. Yale officials have said the incident is “deeply troubling,” and reaffirmed the university’s commitment to addressing incidents of “racial bias, discrimination and harassment.”
Braasch, a 43-year-old lawyer turned philosophy Ph.d student who has worked for women’s rights organizations and has posted about her views that hate speech laws are bad and burka bans are good, has not commented. You can read more about her here.
Here’s what you need to know about Lolade Siyonbola and the incident here:
1. Braasch Told Siyonbola It Was Her ‘Right’ to Call Police on Her, While Siyonbola Told Officers She Is ‘Not Going to Justify My Existence Here’
The incident happened on Tuesday, May 8, at 1:40 a.m., Yale University Police Chief Ronnell Higgins said in a statement. A woman called police to say that she was a student and there was a woman sleeping in the common room on the 12th floor of the Hall of Graduate Studies. Higgins said the caller told police she didn’t know who the person was. Officers responded at 1:45 a.m. and met with the caller, who showed them her ID. She then let them up in the elevator and they stopped at the 5th floor, where the other student appeared.
“At this point, the caller pointed to the other student and said ‘This is her,’” Protocol is for police to separate the parties involved, so two officers stayed with the woman on the fifth floor and the investigating officer went with the caller to the 12th floor,” Higgins wrote. “The investigating officer spent over 11 minutes initially with the caller to assess the situation, while the other two officers spent about 15 minutes with the other woman to assess the situation and to confirm her identity. After reviewing the scene in the 12th floor common room and seeing a computer, books and notebooks in addition to a blanket and pillow on the couch, the investigating officer determined that the person who had been sleeping in the common room was likely a student, so the officer asked the caller to wait in her room on the 12th floor.”
In the first video posted by Lolade Siyonbola, 34, who is set to graduate with a master’s degree in African studies in 2019, shows Sarah Braasch standing in the doorway of her room with a phone in her hand. Braasch can be seen taking photos of Siyonbola and then she tells her, “I have …read more