Black NYT Columnist: Yale Cops Held My Kid at Gunpoint

Student mistaken for a burglary suspect
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2015 10:52 AM CST
Black NYT Columnist: Yale Cops Held My Kid at Gunpoint
In an Oct. 11, 2000 file photo Yale University students and others are shown on Yale University's Cross Campus in New Haven, Conn. In the background is the Sterling Memorial Library.   (AP Photo/Bob Child/file)

(Newser) – Charles Blow, a New York Times columnist and book author, says that his son—a biology student at Yale— was held at gunpoint Saturday afternoon as he left the campus library because police thought he matched the description of a burglary suspect, the New Haven Independent reports. Blow, who is black, first brought the incident to light in a series of tweets in which he said that "this is exactly why I have NO PATIENCE for ppl trying to convince me that the fear these young blk men feel isn't real." Today in the Times, he explained further: As his son walked back to his dorm room, he noticed a campus police officer following him; the officer yelled at him to turn around, and when the younger Blow did so, he tells his father, "The officer raised his gun at me, and told me to get on the ground."

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He complied, answered questions about his name and his student status at Yale, then stopped again after the officer initially appeared to be letting him go but then changed his mind. After he answered more questions and handed over his school ID, a second officer finally explained that they had received a call about a burglary suspect who matched Blow's description; that suspect was ultimately arrested, Yale Daily News reports. As Blow writes in the Times, he has no problem with his son being questioned if the descriptions really did match, but he takes issue with the way things went down. "Why was a gun drawn first? Why was he not immediately told why he was being detained? Why not ask for ID first?" Blow writes. "What if my son had panicked under the stress, having never had a gun pointed at him before, and made what the officer considered a 'suspicious' movement? Had I come close to losing him?" Blow's full column is here. (Read more Yale University stories.)

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