Another day, another African-American targeted in Trump’s America for basically living his life. An employee at the University of Massachusetts Amherst was questioned by police in his office for walking to work.
It was a normal day for Reg Andrade who works as a case manager in the university’s disability services office. Like every day, he walked to his office from the university’s recreational center; however, little did he know the simple act would end up having him being questioned by the police.
The usual day turned out be extremely unusual for Andrade as someone decided to call authorities.
An anonymous person called the university’s tip line and reported that a “very agitated” African-American man had walked into the Whitmore Administration Building with a “large duffel bag … hanging off a strap, very heavy hanging on the ground.”
The caller also described the man’s physical appearance that matched with Andrade’s clothing.
After the call, police arrived at the campus and closed off Whitmore Administration Building for 45 minutes to investigate.
Andrade said he came back from a restroom break when he found two plainclothes officers in his office. As soon as he arrived there, the officers began questioning him and asked him how he spent the previous night and if he was upset while walking to work this morning.
Understandably, the incident left the man shaken.
“How can somebody just walk by me, not even speaking, and try to discern that I was agitated? This is when it becomes dangerous, when people know how to push the buttons of law enforcement … Those were those strong key buzzwords: agitated black man dragging a heavy bag,” said Andrade.
He added he was worried that the officers might shoot him or handcuff him and drag him out of the office in front of everyone. He also thought they would charge him with a crime and the entire situation made him extremely uncomfortable that too in his own office.
Tyrone Parham, chief of university police, said it wasn’t the description the caller gave but the behavior that was described forced them to check the premises otherwise tip line calls are not checked immediately.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time Andrade was racially targeted. He said it has happened several times in the past but it gets intense each time.
“I always have to have my ID card on me, always, no matter where I go. Each time it gets deeper and deeper and more intense. And psychologically, emotionally and physically, it’s just draining,” added the man.
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