Protests broke out on the streets of Washington D.C. yesterday after video of a local Black college student being beaten by the cops went viral.
Jason Goolsby, an 18-year-old freshman at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), was contemplating whether to withdraw money from a Citibank ATM on Monday evening when he stopped to open the door for a woman passing by with her child in a stroller. Only moments later, police officers drove towards Goolsby and his two friends as they were leaving the bank.
Goolsby started to run when he was almost hit by one of the cop cars. Eventually, two White officers captured Goolsby and brutally twisted and pinned the teen’s arms behind his back as he screamed in pain. Officers commanded Goolsby to “stop resisting” although he was stuck to the ground and complying with being taken into custody.
“They never read me my rights after they handcuffed me,” Goolsby said while speaking with the Washington Post. “They never apologized.”
One of Goolsby’s friends witnessed the police’s excessive force and videotaped the incident, repeatedly telling the officers “He didn’t do anything.” Goolsby’s friend was restrained during the incident as well, and later shared his video of Goolsby being detained on Twitter under the handle @. As a result, sympathizers have been using the hashtag #justiceforjason to raise awareness for Goolsby’s story.
Goolsby said one of the officers explained to him that the woman (also White) who he encountered at the Citibank location had called the police. She claimed that he made her “uncomfortable” and that he may have been trying to rob ATM users. Ultimately, neither Goolsby nor his friend that taped the incident were arrested. Goolsby said he was angry at the officers and the women for racial profiling him.
“This whole thing is making my head spin,” Goolsby said.
In the corresponding police report, there is no mention of force used against Goolsby and his friend. However, it does state that the police “determined no crime was committed.” Goolsby and the woman at the bank never spoke to each other when they crossed paths at the bank.
Goolsby grew up in D.C. and is a freshman studying music at UDC. He also works as a model, and was deciding on whether he needed to take out money from the ATM after one of his studio sessions was cancelled. A protestor and former teacher of Goolsby, Erika Totten, remarked that he was “one of the sweetest kids I’ve had the honor of teaching.” Totten went on to say that blackness signifies an “automatic threat” in today’s world and that it further driven by America’s justice system.
Following immense criticism from Black Lives Matter activists and social media users, a D.C. police spokesman, Lt. Sean Conboy, said the department is “reviewing the circumstances surrounding the stop to ensure that policies and procedures were followed.”
Protestors blocked areas of Pennsylvania Avenue on Capitol Hill while chanting the alleged badge number of a police officer involved in the confrontation. The protest route ended at the Citibank by Eight Street, the scene of Goolsby’s encounter with the woman. Goolsby was not at the protests, nor did he know that people were gathering in his name. Below are more tweets from the demonstrations: