Monday, November 07, 2005

Racial profiling at San Francisco State

I am dismayed to share this information with you about an outrageous case of racial profiling. On Tuesday, Dr. Antwi Akom, an Assistant Professor at SF State was accosted and arrested by campus police in his office. Many of us know Antwi--he has been a part time instructor in Educational Leadership before accepting the position at SF State. He is an accomplished researcher, instructor, published author and the Co-Director of the Cesar Chavez Institute.

From the SF Chronicle: Akom, 37, who is African American, was charged with resisting arrest and assaulting an officer...after he retrieved books from his office in the Ethnic Studies and Psychology building. A security guard contacted university police shortly after 11 p.m. to report a suspicious person inside the five-story campus building.

Antwi was handcuffed, strip searched, dressed in an orange suit, shackled, and put in lock-down with violent criminals for the night. In the morning, pressure was put on the situation, the felony was dropped to a misdemeanor and he was released on his own recognizance. To make matters worse, a similar incident, without the arrest, happened to Antwi on campus on 11/2/04 and formal complaints were filed with the university.
His attorney, former San Francisco supervisor and former deputy public defender Matt Gonzalez, said police made a mistake by arresting his client and tried to cover up by accusing him of attacking them. Gonzalez said police saw Akom as threatening because he is an African American man, not because of his actions.
Many letters of concern have been sent to President Corrigan SF State, (Raza Studies, Africana Studies, Ethnic Studies, American Indian Studies, Mayor of Berkeley, Dr. Pedro Noguera, and many more)
Dr. Akom states: This situation has been very painful for my entire family…The issue is much bigger than me; however, the issue is about institutional racism and racial profiling… This could happen to any of us... And every day it happens to many of us....I believe we can collectively transform this situation into something that heals not hurts, builds not breaks, develops not destroys.
We are asking for the charges to be dropped immediately, a public apology, termination of the officers, and end to racial profiling, amongst other things. You can share your concern by writing President Corrigan at San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Ave. SF, CA 94132.

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