Police to meet with Washington University students after allegation of mistreatment

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CLAYTON, Mo. – The Clayton police chief will meet this week with an African-American student claiming mistreatment at the hands of officers. This coming as Washington University has called for an apology from police for the second day.

University officials said Clayton police “humiliated” 10 African-American students—all incoming freshmen—when the students were stopped on suspicion of leaving a Clayton IHOP restaurant without paying.

On July 7, the manager of the IHOP called the police to report that four black men had left without paying a $62 bill. According to police, the manager told them two of the men were wearing white t-shirts; one had black pants and another was wearing red.

An officer spotted a group of people matching that description walking near the Galleria Parkway with IHOP bags. Police told the group about a report of a theft. They said some of the individuals could show proof of purchase while others indicated they had paid cash.

According to police, one person in the group offered to have everyone walk back to the IHOP to speak with the manager, who confirmed they were not the suspects.

The students said police dismissed them without an apology.

Washington University’s Association of Black Students issued the following statement:

“The officers involved … engaged in the most dangerous form of racial profiling by relying solely on the race of the incoming students when stopping them. Such stops are illegal under the Fourth Amendment…”

The university issued another statement, reiterating its call for a “direct and clear” apology to the students.

The students were visiting Washington University for a summer program to prepare for campus life. Only one of the students has filed a formal complaint. Clayton Police Chief Kevin Murphy said he’ll meet with that student personally later this week.

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