Six Campus Officers, Supervisor Suspended After Violent Confrontation with Black Columbia Student During Dispute Over ID

An after-hours food run proved harrowing for a Black Columbia University student who found himself pinned to a countertop after a violent encounter with police.

With the officers now gone, the university has offered its apologies for the racist incident.

Alexander McNab had just left his late-night Afro-beats dance class near the Ivy League campus when the turmoil unfolded, The Washington Post reported. The 23-year-old college senior whipped out his phone to check a Facebook page where starving scholars can post and find free food.

The nearby Barnard College library, where Columbia students are welcome to study, was awash with party leftovers, so McNab headed there.

Recalling the events of that night, the student said he set off toward the free grub, crossing the street that divides the two college campuses. McNab sped up to catch the light before it changed, passing in front of a Barnard public safety van that was waiting to turn left.

He heard a voice call out from behind, “Hello, sir!” but didn’t think much of it as he hurried inside the library.  The campus policy requiring students to show ID after 11 p.m. hadn’t crossed his mind, he admitted. McNab told the Post he had been stopped by Barnard officers and asked to show ID at least twice before, incidents he simply chalked up to racial profiling.

Once inside the library, McNab was greeted by smiling faces who offered him plates of food. With the green light to take as much as he wanted, he piled on scoops of rice and lamb.

Moments later, a pair of officers arrived. Then there were two more, then four more. The situation quickly escalated as the officers demanded to see McNab’s university-issued ID. That’s when witnesses said they grabbed the young man by his arms, shoving him into the countertop of the first-floor coffee shop before pinning him on his back.

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