Racial bias

Yale student who had police called on her for napping in common area speaks out

Lolade Siyonbola. (Facebook)

Last week, graduate student Lolade Siyonbola, who is black, fell asleep while working on an assignment in the common area of her dormitory on the campus of Yale University in Connecticut. As she napped, a white graduate student, who has been identified as Sarah Braasch, woke her up and reportedly told her, “You’re not supposed to be sleeping here.” Then she added, “I’m going to call the police,” a threat she promptly followed through on.

Moments later, police arrived and Siyonbola, 34, founder herself in the disconcerting position of having to prove to authorities that she lived in the dorm. Worried about how black people’s encounters with law enforcement can sometimes go, she decided to record the entire exchange on her smartphone, initially going live on Facebook. She later uploaded the video of the rest of the exchange to Facebook, and national outrage followed.

“I have always said to myself since Sandra Bland was killed. I said to myself if I ever have an encounter with police I’ll film myself,” told ABC News, referring to the woman who was found dead in a Texas jail cell after she’d been arrested hours earlier during a traffic stop. “I posted the video just for my safety.”

In the video, Siyonbola can be seen using her key to unlock the door to her dorm room as proof to police that she did in fact live there. Braasch can also be seen in the video clips insisting that she has “every right to call the police” to report someone for sleeping in the common room. Siyonbola also revealed that this is not the first time Braasch has done something like this. The 43-year-old lawyer and grad student once called police on friend of Siyonbola’s, a black man, for sleeping in a common area.

“It had already been like a stressful week, you know, ahead of this,” Siyonbola recalled. “I had barely been sleeping, so to sort of be on the couch and for the lights to come on, I was like, ‘Who is interrupting my nap?’ after all and to see that it was Sarah, of all people, because she had called the police on my friend before. I was just like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.'”

“I just went with God and said, ‘Whatever’s meant to be will be,’ but it’s just mind-boggling that you know somebody could behave like this,” she added, saying Braasch should be held accountable for abusing her use of the police in the manner in which she did. Watch the full interview below.

Read the full story at Yahoo.

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