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'Walking while black': Cleveland Councilman Kevin Conwell says he was stopped by campus police

Posted: 12:36 PM, Mar 16, 2018
Updated: 2018-03-16 12:36:28-04

Ward 9 City Councilman Kevin Conwell said Case Western Reserve University officers profiled him last Friday. 

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"Walking while black," said Conwell. "I was walking along this strip here, thinking I was a free man."

The university sent News 5 this statement:

We deeply regret that Councilman Conwell was stopped and asked for his identification while on our campus, and are taking steps-specifically additional training-to address the issues this encounter has raised.

The university president, police chief, and others apologized to Councilman Conwell immediately after learning of the incident Friday. At shift changes that day, police supervisors began reminding officers of appropriate protocols for engaging with citizens.

The officer who stopped Councilman Conwell was responding to a telephoned report of an individual who appeared to be disoriented and approaching students. The colors of the councilman's hat and jacket matched the ones that the caller had cited.

The department's police and security officers have participated in extensive training regarding the tenets of community policing and appropriate interactions with members of the community. We will be providing additional education to all officers within the next few weeks.

“Then he said I was free. ' you're free to go.' I said, 'I’m always free,'" said Conwell. "I need to shine a light on this incident."