The St. Paul, Minnesota NAACP criticized a white security officer’s false report naming a Black suspect as a gunman after the man’s lie set off events that disrupted the campus of St. Catherine’s University Tuesday night, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
St. Paul police said they were “immediately skeptical” of St. Catherine University security officer Brent P. Ahlers, 25, who wrongfully claimed he was shot by a nonexistent black suspect on campus Tuesday night. Ahlers later admitted that his gun accidentally went off and he made up the story to keep his job. However, Ahlers was arrested Wednesday and issued a misdemeanor citation for his racially charged claim, the report says.
Diane Binns, president of the St. Paul NAACP, said Ahlers’ description of a fake suspect is “rooted in the racism that perpetuated slavery and the oppression of blacks for hundreds of years.”
“That’s what Black people live with,” Binns said. “We’ve been lynched, and we’ve been put in jail to find out later you haven’t done it. That’s the sad thing about it. It hasn’t stopped.”
Emergency dispatch audio described the so-called suspect as a black man with a “short Afro” in a navy blue sweatshirt, according to police. But Sgt. Mike Ernster said that all the information was not adding up, the Star Tribune report says.
Ahlers’ fabricated account led to a “campus-wide lockdown, and dozens of officers went building-to-building searching for the ‘suspect,’” CBS News reports.
Ahlers, who was treated for a shoulder wound, was booked into the Ramsey County jail and released Thursday morning. St. Catherine University said that he is now on paid leave from his job. Police presented the case to the city attorney’s office to consider any charges.