A Black man was pepper sprayed and Tasered during an arrest on the Burnaby campus of SFU on Friday, prompting the president of the student society to accuse the school and its security staff of racial profiling.
Osob Mohamed, president of the Simon Fraser Student Society, tweeted about the violent arrest, saying police should not have been called.
“@SFU is a sick institution,” tweeted Mohamed. “A Black alum was pepper sprayed, tased and arrested for simply trying to get food in the dining hall on campus. This after countless conversations about de-escalation and the dangers of police presence on campus.”
Some questioned why campus security even confronted a Black man on campus.
“Campus security profiled a Black alumni and followed him into the dining hall, they never ask students for anything except for student id,” tweeted Giovanni HoSang. “Why did this Black person get singled out and asked for ID? If I go to campus as a person and alumni why wud I be followed and arrested @SFU.”
SFU issued a statement, but said it would not be commenting on details of the case, including why security staff even approached the person.
“We are aware that a recent incident on the evening of December 11, 2020 on Burnaby campus is being shared on social media,” said SFU. “We recognize that comments and the videos posted may cause distress to SFU community members, particularly for Black & Indigenous members. Please be reminded that 24/7 culturally safe mental health supports for students are available through mySSP.”
SFU has said it is restricting who is on campus during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Burnaby RCMP issue a statement saying its officer responded to a call from SFU security. Upon arrival, RCMP say the officer spent several minutes using “crisis intervention and verbal-de-escalation techniques with repeated requests, asking the man to leave the premise.”
“When the man refused to comply with the direction to leave, by both the campus security and the police officer, the police officer told the man he was under arrest for causing a disturbance,” says the statement. “While attempting to take the man into custody, the man took the officer by the arm and a physical altercation ensued and the officer deployed oleoresin capsicum spray (pepper spray).”
RCMP allege the man subdued the officer and placed the officer in a “chokehold.”
“Fearing for his safety, the officer deployed a conducted energy weapon (CEW). Only with use of both police intervention tools was the officer able to take the man into custody safely,” says the statement.
The man was then taken to hospital where he was treated for injuries sustained from the CEW deployment.
The man was then released from police custody to medical staff after being apprehended under the Mental Health Act. Criminal charges for Cause a Disturbance and Assaulting a Peace Officer are pending, say RCMP.