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A communications service officer approached a Black student, Lanre Bakare, sitting in Harper Hall last month and questioned Bakare what he was doing in a common area, according to a TikTok video posted to Bakare’s account. 

According to a statement from the Afrikan Peoples Union sent to The Daily Nebraskan shortly after the incident, the CSO is known, but this information has not been made public.

There is no list of officers available on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Police Department website.

Bakare’s video starts with him explaining which floor he lives on and asking if he is able to go between floors to visit with friends. The officer says, “Yes,” and Bakare begins to speak, to which the officer shouts, “Shut up.”

The officer tells Bakare he is not answering his questions or doesn’t want to answer them. A girl walks out of her room and Bakare asks her whether students can go between floors and visit friends and asks the CSO if the officer would leave him alone. The officer says yes, Bakare starts talking about the situation and the CSO talks directly with the girl. She says Bakare sits on the floor all the time. The officer responds, “He was being weird when I was asking him.”

APU found out about the TikTok and decided to make an incident statement and list of demands. 

“Leading up to the time the student began recording, the officer had already targeted his Blackness in a space that was his,” the statement reads. “While sitting in the lounge area, the officer approaches the student with what feels like an interrogation.” 

The statement says spaces like residence halls are supposed to be safe places for all students, and when the CSO comes up to Black students like this, their spaces are stolen from them. 

“As an organization, this situation is not far from our own personal experiences at this university. We believe that situations like these must not go without consequence,” APU wrote in the statement. “We have notified the Chief of Police about the incident, who attended our meeting on 09/27/21.”

Since the incident, The Daily Nebraskan has tried to get in touch with Bakare and APU members repeatedly, but they were not able to comment prior to publication.

APU wrote that they gave 20 business days after its meeting with UNLPD Chief Hassan Ramzah to meet their demands, which ended on Oct. 22, according to the statement. 

The Daily Nebraskan reached out to UNLPD and Ramzah said he was not able to give any update about the personnel matter, but that the staff has been asked to “look into the implementation of the recommendations requested by APU.”

The demands from APU as outlined in its statement are: 

  • Removing the CSO from his position

  • Listing all police and campus police names on the UNLPD website 

  • Requiring all officers complete implicit bias training 

  • Having the university partner with UNLPD to inform students about their rights on campus 

  • Incorporating student rights into New Student Enrollment Online Orientation

Association of Students of the University of Nebraska (ASUN) President Batool Ibrahim told The Daily Nebraskan in early October she was aware of the situation and states she thinks the situation is a clear violation of Ramzah’s training of his officers. 

“I think we all understand when Black people interact with police officers, there are tensions that are there, and the tensions were very clear in the video,” Ibrahim said. “As student body president, not only do I uplift and support the Black voices on campus, but as a Black woman myself, watching that video was very disheartening that these conversations are still happening and that these incidents are still happening on this campus.”

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