The Catalyst recently obtained the police call and body camera videos from the early morning events of Sept. 15. On this night, a man was tackled to the ground at an off-campus Colorado College party by two Colorado Springs police officers. The call came at around 12:30 in the morning from a Colorado College student.
“Hi yes, there’s a white Suburban on Uintah in between Weber and Wahsatch and guys were like flashing pistols out the window,” said the student. “They just started walking around in between Weber and Wahsatch, on Uintah Street … and I can see the car right now; it’s a white Suburban, you guys have to hurry up here, I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
The student was not at the site of the potential crime, but he was down the street at the intersection of Weber and Uintah. When asked, the student said that he hadn’t heard any shots fired, but that the men who had been “flashing pistols out the window” of the Suburban were four black men. Soon, the dispatchers had officers en route, and the call ended.
According to the call history, officers arrived at the party around 12:40 a.m.. One of the body camera videos shows an officer tackling the suspect to the ground. As he completes the tackle the officer states, “You’re not going anywhere,” while voices in the background shout, “What did he even do?” A different body camera video shows the man in handcuffs being questioned.
“Arrested for what?” the suspect asked the cops. He was a young black man wearing a black hoodie with the hood up. When the officer tells him about the call, the suspect responds, “We don’t have guns, who the f**k is talking?” The officer responded, “Your description [matches the description on the call], you’re not under arrest.”
The officer then asked the suspect for his identification, to which he responded that he had none on him. A female Colorado College student can be heard in the background asking, “why does he need his ID to show up to a party?” When asked if he came to the party in a white Suburban waving around guns, the man responded, “f**k no. This is just a Colorado College party.” Another voice then chimed in, “are you looking for a white truck? That’s me. You can let this fool go.” The officer then uncuffed the suspect, and the audio shuts off as the officer questioned the owner of the white Suburban.
Another one of the body camera videos shows the supervising officer on the scene talking to a group of Colorado College students. One of the students, Wyatt Morrison ’20, asked the officer, “what has he done that no one else here has done?” The officer told Morrison that they had received calls about black men carrying guns at the party, Morrison responded, “This is a Colorado College party. I’ve gone here for two and a half years, and that s**t has never happened.” Matthew Fitzgibbon ’22 added, “just checking out [the party]? That’s a blatant lie.” The officer continued to talk to the students, saying that they receive calls about off campus Colorado College parties, “all the time, every weekend.”
One of the officers said on the recording that they received around nine calls about men with guns at the party. This is unsupported by the audio and video information released by the Colorado Springs Police Department. In the end, the man who was tackled was never arrested, and the case proved inconclusive for CSPD. It is undetermined if guns were really brought to the party at 328 Uintah in the early morning hours of Sept. 15. And, although we will never know the thought process of the officer, the event of a police person immediately tackling a black suspect reflects a reality in which black people are often targeted with greater suspicion and violence from law enforcement. A reality uncomfortable for many students, but one we cannot ignore.