UDC

(Screengrab from cellphone footage of incident)

More than fifty protesters trekked the Eastern Market / Navy Annex corridor on Oct. 13 to demand an internal investigation of police conduct following the aggressive detainment of a University of the District of Columbia (UDC) student a day earlier.

In cellphone footage recorded reportedly by Michael Brown, one of his friends, Jason Goolsby, a college freshman was thrown to the ground and handcuffed by two officers, while screaming “I am not resisting.”

His detainment was the result of a 911 call from a White female who claimed Goolsby and his two friends made her “feel uncomfortable” while standing outside of a Citibank branch as she used an ATM on Oct. 12.

The caller, whose name was redacted from the police report, told the operator that she believed the young men were “casing” the bank in order to rob it around 6 p.m. Monday evening.

Shouting “Justice for Jason” and “Color is No Crime,” protesters argued that Goolsby raised the suspicions of Whites on Capitol Hill simply for being young, Black, and male.  Business owners in the area, however, said that robberies and assaults have increased lately, with culprits fitting this description.

Housing advocate Eugene Puryear, who participated in the rally, told the Washington D.C. City Paper that it was heartening to see young people come out to demand justice.

“I think bears out the reality of policing in this country: The actions of police aren’t benign oftentimes,” he said. “We need to see a bit more on what happened.”

(Screengrab from YouTube video of press conference)

According to The Washington Post, Goolsby’s lawyer, Peter Grenier, said an Oct. 15 press conference that the youth was once part of a group invited to the White House by first lady Michelle Obama to participate in a symposium on careers in film and music. Before their altercation with police, Grenier said Goolsby and his friends had just completed a “boot camp” on educating at-risk youth on safe sex and AIDS prevention.

Goolsby told reporters that he pondered using the ATM for about 20 seconds, holding the door open for a young woman with a baby stroller to enter, before deciding against it.  As he began walking away, D.C. police vehicles raced towards him, officers jumped out, and handcuffed him.

The video footage documented aggressive actions and seemed to depict excessive force by the arresting officers.  The confrontation came after Goolsby ran away from the police for several blocks.

Goolsby claimed he was never read his rights, and was later released without being charged. He was unaware of the protest.

Lt. Sean Conboy, a Metropolitan Police Department spokesman, noted conflicting accounts of the story as given in the officers’ statements and the live social media video, Instagrams, and Twitter feeds.  

“Obviously report is very different than the Twitter narrative,” he said. Conboy said the department is looking into the incident to ensure that all parties handled the stop correctly.