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CSU Long Beach professor claims campus police officer racially profiled him

Was a CSU Long Beach professor racially profiled?
Was a CSU Long Beach professor racially profiled? 02:37

Sociology professor Dr. Steven Osuna, who has worked at Cal State Long Beach for seven years, claimed that he was racially profiled after getting locked out of his building.

"According to him, I looked like a suspect," Osuna said. "I didn't fit the profile of a faculty member."

While preparing for a workshop for transfer students, the sociology professor said that he locked himself out of his building after leaving his phone and I.D. badge in his office. 

"I had no phone — everything was in my office," he said. "So, I had no other choice but to call campus police."

Osuna, a tenured professor, said he alerted the officer that he didn't have his campus I.D. but suggested the police could look him up online. The officer said he could not do that since Osuna did not have an I.D.

"I said why don't you walk with me to my office," he recalled. "My doors unlocked you can see I have pictures of my family and I."

However, Osuna claimed that the officer called a supervisor and refused to let him back inside the building. 

Osuna said he pleaded with them by saying "You're going to leave me out here on my own?" The officer continued to say that nothing could be done to help the professor. 

A university spokesperson responded by issuing a statement that said: 

"Systemic racism and abuse of power by police in this country are real, profound challenges. As an institution of higher education, we embrace our role as a place for these issues to be explored and debated, with solutions identified. 

It is for this reason that we are examining this particular incident from the impacted faculty member's specific perspective. The officer at the incident was following a policy in place at the university, and we do not believe the officer acted inappropriately. Still, we wholeheartedly acknowledge that is not how our faculty member experienced the event.

An apology was extended to our faculty member during a meeting with our campus president and police chief shortly after the incident, as was an assurance of a review of building-access protocols. In addition, we are already benefiting from the work of a Community Engagement Group that now exists with faculty, staff, student, community-member, and Academic Senate representation that helps our campus police review emerging concerns.

We underscore our support for the impacted faculty member, and seek to advance an environment of greater understanding, mutual respect, and sound campus-safety procedures."

According to the president of the union that represents Osuna, the university has apologized to Osuna but the police department hasn't. 

"We can hide behind the policy and we did nothing wrong," said union president and fellow professor Gary Hytrek. "That's true on its face but the spirit of the way the policy is carried out is not there and like I said, a lot of white faculty and male faculty expressed their outrage because they are treated very, very differently. 

The union demanded a public apology and called on-campus police to re-evaluate the existing unlock policy.

"I grew yo at the same time as the Rampart scandal and the LAPD," said Osuna. "So, it's a constant thing that I knew, right. But did I expect that at work, no."

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