Society

USC Students Say LAPD Used Racial Profiling to Shut Down Grad Party (Video)

| by Michael Allen
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Some students at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles claim that the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) used racial profiling to shut down a graduation party on Saturday (video below).

“Most people were dispersing and leaving,” the party’s host student, Nate Howard, told KCBS-TV. “But then [police] came back and started telling everybody to get out. That’s eventually what people started to do, until they started to get crazy.”

The LAPD said they responded to a noise complaint coming from Howard’s party of 400 people on Saturday night at 2 a.m.

Howard said he took precautions, which included registering the event with USC's Department of Public Safety and hiring security.

Police claimed that partygoers threw objects at them, so officers called for reinforcements.

"Everybody at the party at this point is upset," Howard told KABC-TV, "but no bottles or anything are thrown, as they're saying."

Howard's neighbor, USC student Tommy Fleming, was also hosting a loud party at the same time. Fleming said the LAPD left his mostly-white guests alone.

"They shut their party down with cops in riot gear and people were tased, people were arrested, and I just feel really bad that we've been able to have parties here and they've gotten shut down," Fleming told KABC-TV. "I think, pretty much, purely because we're a bunch of white kids hanging out here and they're a bunch of black kids hanging out there."

“They told [the white students] to stay in the house and be safe,” Howard said. “While us over here, majority students of color, we were dispersed out of my house and everywhere.”

Student Lamar Gray made a video recording (below) of the police outside Howard's party and posted it on YouTube.

“We were having fun at a college party,” Gray said in the video. “No one had a gun. It was straight up college students. IDs were checked at this party. No one had a gun. There are 79 LAPD officers right now. I want you to realize there are 79 LAPD officers right now.”

Students have organized a sit-in at 3 p.m. today at the site of the Tommy Trojan statue on campus, reported The Daily Trojan. Campus officials and police say they will hold an on-campus forum about the incident on Tuesday evening.

Sources: The Daily Trojan, KCBS-TV, KABC-TV.