Maintenance worker alleges racial profiling by GUPD

January 30, 2017

A GUPD car. Photo by the Voice

On Jan. 6, a GUPD officer allegedly stopped Clarence Wesley, a maintenance worker who has worked at Georgetown for almost 15 years, outside of New North. Wesley, who is black, said this was a case of racial profiling.

According to Wesley, he was stopped by an officer while leaving his building, and was physically restrained by the first officer, and a second officer, who came up following the first. The two GUPD officers held onto Wesley’s arms, and demanded that he stay with them, as he tried to identify himself as a member of the staff.

Wesley was in uniform, he said, but was wearing his personal coat over the top of his uniform.

Wesley said he was asked to show ID which he could not do because it was attached to his shirt underneath the coat and he was unable to move his arms. Eventually, a call came over the radio, and the officers ran off.

“When that came through, these officers just shot on off,” said Wesley. “I’m just left standing there, and I don’t know what’s going on. These officers never even asked me my name, they didn’t even asked me my name. They never asked me anything”

Wesley said he was then approached by two plainclothed GUPD detectives. Wesley expressed his frustration with the situation, and the detectives explained that the officers held onto him because he might have had a weapon and they did not know him.These answers frustrated him even more.

“When I left, I had some concern about how they treated me. When I got home, it really hit me. I was up all night long,” Wesley said.

On Jan. 10, Wesley filed a complaint with GUPD, claiming that he was mistreated and racially profiled. He was told the officers had been responding to a complaint of a suspect in all black that was in New North.

There is no record of a public safety alert being sent out regarding the concern, and there is no mention of the incident in the GUPD crime log. GUPD declined to comment.

In the weeks following Wesley’s complaint, the university has not made any announcements regarding the incident. In an emailed statement, to the Voice, Rachel Pugh, a university spokesperson, said  “The University takes any report of bias seriously.”

Beyond this, Pugh was unable to comment. “Investigations are confidential, and the University does not comment on specific reports while under review,” she wrote. However, she added, “GUPD officers recently participated in implicit bias training to better prepare them for their regular interactions with a diverse community of students, faculty, staff and visitors.”

Wesley said that this is the first time in his 15 years at the university that he was involved in an incident like this and his story has gained the attention of some student groups on campus.

“It’s ridiculous and frankly disheartening to see that workers should have to put up with this and feel unsafe in their own place of work,” Esmeralda Huerta (SFS ‘18), a member of the Georgetown Solidarity Committee (GSC), wrote in an email to the Voice.

While Wesley said that he is unaware of any other related incidents involving racial profiling, Huerta said that Wesley is not alone in his complaints.

“This isn’t an isolated incident,” said Huerta. “Within the last year, my friend and I helped a night-shift worker who had been aggressively woken up by an officer who believed them to be homeless. This is despite the fact that the worker has been here for years,”

It is unclear what, if any, actions the university will take in their handling of the case, which was reported 20 days ago.

Chris Dunn
Chris graduated from the SFS in 2019. He is the Voice's former executive opinions editor, and is pretty sure the 2008 Phillies could beat any team in any sport ever.


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[…] be naive to assume that such tension between law enforcement and communities of color does not exist here at Georgetown as well, and we should continue to elevate the voices of students of color […]