Anti-racism rally held Saturday after family accuses Fairfield PD of racial profiling

Fairfield

A rally was held on Saturday in response to an incident involving a black college student and Fairfield Police.

The police say the student was drunk and urinating on someone’s lawn during Fairfield U’s annual Clam Jam at Penfield Beach, but the student’s mother says the police unfairly targeted her son because he’s Black.

“It was not until he was actually on our property that then they I think found a reason to come towards him,” the student’s mtoher, Amanda Hanson said in an interview, “We have eyewitnesses who saw me fleeing on foot flying down my staircase outside.”

20 year-old Naquan Oliver is the student from the incident. He spoke out for the first time on Saturday, saying, “Two weeks ago, I experienced a series of events that were unexpected and disturbing.”

Police say during the Clam Jam, Naquan Oliver was drunk and had to be escorted to a medical tent set up by the school. Police say Oliver became unruly and belligerent towards the medical staff and at one point and tried to run away.

The Dean of Students intervened and decided Oliver had to leave the party and be taken home.

Sometime after that, police say they saw Oliver running on Fairfield Beach Road shouting obscenities at them. They say they then saw him go into a driveway.

Related: Family accuses Fairfield PD of racial profiling; police and town leaders dispute claim

Officers followed him and say they saw him up against a fence, preparing to urinate on the ground.
police say they approached him and he started yelling at them, saying he lived at that home. They say they asked for an ID, but there was a different address listed on it.

Police say Oliver then tried to walk back into the street but an officer put her arm up to stop him because of traffic in the area. 

A third officer approached the door of the home to try and confirm that he lived there. A woman came out and asked what was happening, that woman said she was Oliver’s mother.

Mom is now speaking out. Hanson said at the rally, “It’s much bigger than a single police department or school system, it’s a bigger systemic issue we are suffering from. It’s unconscious bias as a people of color. We seem to fear that which is different from us.”

In a statement, Fairfield police say the officers involved acted properly, reasonably, and with great restraint and patience. They also say racism played no part in this encounter whatsoever and any attempt to paint it in such a manner is completely false. They say this encounter was entirely caused by the intoxicated behavior of the student.

Hanson said, “I saw something very differently. I responded very differently.”

First Selectman Mike Tetreau said, “I don’t think we want to be stereotyped as just a rich suburban town. We are welcoming.”

The Clam Jam is a Fairfield University sponsored event, over 1,600 students attended.

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