Barnard College Public Safety Officers Use Excessive Force On Black Columbia Student Because He Refused To Show I.D.

All of the officers involved in the incident have all been placed on administrative leave.

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| April 19 2019,

01:30 am

A Black college student in New York is the latest subject of excessive force by campus safety officers, and university officials have confirmed an investigation has been opened. 

The Columbia Daily Spectator reports officers began following Columbia University senior Alexander McNab on Thursday night after he allegedly declined to show his school ID. He'd been entering a building on the campus of Barnard College, a sister institution to the Ivy League.

More authorities were called to the Milstein Center for Teaching and Learning after McNab continued to ignore the officer's request. Eventually, two officers physically restrained the student on the counter of a Peet's coffee shop. McNab then obliged and showed officers his ID. 

After verifying it was him, one officer asked the student to walk outside. However, McNab indicated he wanted to remain inside the Milstein Center so other witnesses could watch the action unfold.

However, The Columbia Daily Spectator notes officers seized McNab’s ID, saying they wanted to confirm he was an "active" student at Columbia. 

A tweet posted by a witness explains that while students are expected to show identification after 11 p.m., that rule is hardly enforced. 



Barnard College President Sian Leah Beilock released a statement following the incident. In her remarks, she apologized to McNab and said she would be taking a more active approach toward campus security.

"Barnard is about academic excellence, which cannot occur without diversity and an inclusive community where everyone feels welcome and safe. Moving forward, the College has taken, and will continue to take, a number of steps toward that goal – beginning but not ending with a focus on campus security."

In a separate release, Barnard College confirmed the officers in question had been placed on administrative leave as the institution works with a third-party team to investigate the ordeal. 

Speaking with The Columbia Daily Spectator, McNab said how the public service officers detained him was surprising, as the student only informed them he wasn't going to show them his ID.

"It's like I was resisting arrest or something. It was very much like an NYPD police officer-type interaction," McNab said.

The confrontation has sparked protests across campus, with students arriving in droves to condemn the officer's use of excessive force. 

McNab has since detailed the taxing consequences of being the subject of this investigation, telling The Washington Post he has conducted several interviews and responded to multiple emails about being a Black man in such a compromising position.

"There’s never a good time for this to happen," McNab said. "But this weekend, I had all these things to do."

Columbia University
Barnard College
Alexander McNab
excessive force
police brutality
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