Four Black Harvard University Students Held At Gunpoint After False 911 Call
Four Black Ivy League college students were wrongfully held at gunpoint due to a false 911 call.
According to reports, early Monday (Apr. 3) morning, at least five armed Harvard University Police Department officers raided an undergraduate suite in Leverett House in response to a false 911 call. The officers were responding to a tip about an armed individual in the suite. The four Harvard seniors living in the residence awoke to banging on the door. HUPD officers allegedly ordered them into the hallway at gunpoint.
Seniors Jarah Cotton, Jazmin Dunlap, David Madzivanyika, and Alexandra René were escorted out of the suite while HUPD searched inside for a possible threat. Following the raid, HUPD spokesperson Steven Catalano revealed in an interview that officers were sent to the building after a report of “threatening violence against occupants.” According to Catalano, the officers searched the suite with
“negative results for an individual with a firearm or any persons acting in a suspicious manner.”
As for Jarah Cotton, she was completely confused as to why this was taking place.
She told the Harvard Crimson (the student newspaper of the university),
“All I can recall having in my mind is ‘I haven’t done anything.’ I really had no clue why they were raiding our suite. It was a very crazy experience — and terrifying.”
According to Cotton, the officers had their rifles pointed at the students, and instructed them to exit their rooms with their hands raised. She said the students were then escorted to a neighboring suite.
After the raid was complete, Cotton said an officer came to them and explained that a false 911 call had led HUPD to believe there was an active threat in the building.
In an email to the newspaper, Cotton revealed how frightening the ordeal was, especially being a person of color.
“We were all extremely scared, particularly because my roommates and I are Black students who have been bombarded our whole lives with stories and images portraying how situations such as this had ended up terribly. We felt our lives were in danger. We are traumatized.”
The HUPD later discovered that the false report was an act of “swatting”–a criminal harassment tactic of deceiving an emergency service into sending a police or emergency service response team to another person’s address.
Naturally, black students on the Harvard campus are now speaking out on the matter and sharing their opinions. One student took to TikTok to reveal that the school has not spoken much about the incident. She said,
“We haven’t heard a lot about it on campus because I don’t think Harvard wants a lot of people to know, but it should be shared….I just view this institution as the brainchild for modern day racism.”
#greenscreen #harvarduniversity #ivyleague #fyp #university #foryoupage #blacklivesmattter
? original sound – LaNell Alexandria Williams
Another person took to social media to discuss the unfortunate incident.
“What’s most tragic is gun violence survivors like myself have to relive these traumatic experiences and then we gotta go to class. Then we still gotta submit the assignments on time, and we still gotta do midterms, do finals.”
Smh #fyp what would you do?
? original sound – RuQuan Savion ??
Reportedly, the FBI is aware of the false police report and is coordinating with HUPD on the matter.
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!
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