Rowan to hold forum after students stopped by police at gunpoint
Rowan University will have a discussion about race and law enforcement sparked by police stopping two of its students at gunpoint earlier this week. Altaif Hassan, 21, was giving his friend Giavanna Roberson, 18, a ride to the Student Center on Monday, when he was stopped in the parking lot by police, he told NJ.com. He told the news site he was never told why he was being pulled over, nor did he receive an explanation or apology after the hour-plus ordeal. Glassboro Police Chief Franklin Brown Jr. said the incident was sparked by the report of a man in a car similar to Hassan’s that an officer received around 4:30 p.m. while on an unrelated call. While interviewing witnesses to a shoplifting investigation inside the Collegetown Shopping Center on North Delsea Drive, a man ran into the store and said that a man had come out holding a gun. Body camera footage from that call shows the man get the officers’ attention.
“See that black Charger right there,” he man says, pointing out the door to the parking lot. “He just came out of the store with a gun in his hand. I don’t know if it’s fake. I don’t know if it’s a joke.” He identified the car as a Dodge Charger and the suspect as a heavy -set black male with “puffy hair.” Brown said. The news release and video were put out to correct some inaccuracies that had been reported in some places, he said. The department noted that there was no armed robbery reported, no 911 call was made to dispatch and “police did not stop the wrong car.” “The (car’s) occupants, who are Rowan University students, were compliant with the officers’ directions and the situation was resolved without further incident,” the chief said. The body camera footage shows the officer leave to go investigate. No footage was released of what happened during the car stop outside the Student Center. There are several videos of that online, including posted on Hassan’s Facebook, which is under the name Deuce Willis.
“I realized today that my worse fear is to die on camera or the world to play over and over and over again,” he wrote in another post. “I’m glad things didn’t go the way they did in my head or else I wouldn’t be able to relay this message.” Now, Rowan University will hold a discussion in the Student Center’s ballroom from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday. It is called “Rowan Unites to Support the Human Experience, or RUSHE. “While Glassboro is still investigating the circumstances that led to the officers stopping our students, the manner in which they made the stop has troubled some of the university community,” the announcement states. The forum is co-sponsored by the Student Government Association and the Office of Social Justice and Inclusion. Hassan calls for “Anybody melanated in America” to come out. “No one needs to feel like a victim to the people who are supposed to protect us,” he wrote. University officials have been working with the students involved, the school said.