Banking While Black: DC Police Chase and Cuff College Student After White Woman Says She Is ‘Uncomfortable’

Stephen A. Crockett Jr. | The Root

Jason Goolsby claims that police chased and handcuffed him because a white woman stated that she felt uncomfortable about his and his friends’ presence near a Washington, D.C., Citibank. Twitter.

Black Lives Matter activists lined a Washington, D.C., street Tuesday in protest after an 18-year-old black man and his friends were accosted, chased and handcuffed by police for, they believe, standing too close to a banking institution and thereby making a white woman uncomfortable.

Jason Goolsby told the Washington Post that he and two friends were standing outside a Citibank near the exclusive Capitol Hill area around 6:15 p.m. Monday when police cars came racing toward him. Goolsby told the Post that one car almost hit him, so the college freshman ran. Police gave chase, and Goolsby’s friend recorded the tail end of what happened next.

On the video, which was circulated on social media, Goolsby is on the ground as two white officers appear to twist his arm behind his back. Goolsby can be heard yelling in pain while the officers yell, “Stop resisting.”

Goolsby’s friend can be heard off camera saying, “He didn’t do anything.” Moments later, the video is stopped after a police officer accosts Goolsby’s friend.

Goolsby told the Post that police would later claim that they got a call noting that the teen’s presence made a white woman “uncomfortable.”

A police report viewed by the Post doesn’t mention in detail the encounter between the officer and Goolsby.

“One individual fled on foot from police, was chased and then taken down,” the police statement reads, according to the Post. “The individual resisted, and was handcuffed while resisting after he refused to stop.”

Goolsby told the Post that he believes a woman he’d held a door for as she entered the bank is the one who called police. He added that he was contemplating withdrawing money from the ATM after he learned that a studio session had been canceled and he didn’t know if he still needed the cash.

Police did not release the official recording and noted only that the 911 caller reported “men who she thought may have been targeting ATM users were wearing backpacks and had ‘flat-top bush hairstyles,’ ” the Post reports.

“If you’re black, you’re an automatic threat. That’s the reality of the world we live in, and it’s supported by the justice system,” Erika Totten, a former high school teacher of Goolsby’s and leader of Tuesday’s protest, told the Post. “White fear of a black boy caused that.”

Lt. Sean Conboy, a D.C. police spokesman, told the Post that officials are “reviewing the circumstances surrounding the stop to ensure that policies and procedures were followed.”

“[The police] threw me on the ground. They never read me my rights after they handcuffed me,” Goolsby told the Post. “They never apologized.”

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