Charles Blow, columnist for The New York Times, recounted an incident involving his third-year Yale student son being held at gunpoint by campus police because he fit the description of a robbery suspect.
“Saturday evening, I got a call that no parent wants to get,” Blow writes. “It was my son calling from college… He had been accosted by a campus police officer, at gunpoint!”
He then details the afternoon events according to his son’s account, which involve the police officer raising his weapon and demanding Blow’s son, Tahj Blow, to get on the ground. After a brief exchange of information between Tahj and the officer, he was asked to get up and produce his school ID. Tahj was told that he was stopped because he fit the description of a reported robbery suspect and was subsequently released. It is noted that the actual suspect was later arrested in the area.
Blow admits, “When I spoke to my son, he was shaken up. I, however, was fuming.”
He then pondered a possible “what if” scenario that might have left his son dead. Thankfully, the incident did not end with a gunshot. But that didn’t satisfy Blow who asked why a gun had to be drawn in the first place.
“Now, don’t get me wrong: If indeed my son matched the description of a suspect, I would have had no problem with him being questioned appropriately,” Blow writes, adding, “The stop is not the problem; the method of the stop is the problem.”
The concerned father was thankful that Yale’s dean called to apologize and promised to launch an internal investigation. “But,” Blow writes, “the scars cannot be unmade. My son will always carry the memory of the day he left his college library and an officer trained a gun on him… In these moments, what you’ve done matters less than how you look.”
And that’s when Jesse Jackson steps in: