Prosecutor Investigates After Cops Hold Rowan Students at Gunpoint
GLASSBORO — The Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office is investigating how borough police handled an incident in which armed officers pulled over and held up two Rowan University students who they mistook for a suspected gunman.
More than 300 students, staff and alumni met on campus Friday to discuss Monday's incident, which prompted students and alumni to say they believe believe police here often target black students.
The two students who were pulled over, senior Altaif Hassan, of Trenton, and freshman Giovanna Roberson, of Cherry Hill, said they were "traumatized" by the incident outside Mimosa Hall. The stop was captured on cellphone video by witnesses.
"We held the forum to address the specific incident and broader issues of student relationships with law enforcement, especially for students of color. I hope you agree the forum was a good first step," President Ali A. Houshmand wrote in a message on the university's Facebook page.
Glassboro police did not attended the event, according to 6 ABC Action News.
Prosecutor's spokesman Tom Gilbert told the Townsquare News Network that the police chief requested the investigation and members of the Rowan community had also raised concerns to the office about the incident.
Police said that while officers were investigating a shoplifting at a cellphone store at the plaza a man came in claiming that someone was standing by a black Dodge Charger parked in a fire zone in front of the store pointing a gun at the car.
Police the followed a car onto the Rowan campus and ordered Hassan and Roberson out of the car while they searched it. No weapon was found.
Hassan said he and Roberson were in a black Dodge Charger at the shopping plaza but not the one in the fire zone. Hassan said they were picking up eyeglasses in another section of the plaza. He said it was another example of how he has been harassed by Glassboro police during his four years at the school.