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Monday, August 6, 2018

Campus Police Called on Black Woman For Looking Suspicious While Eating Her Lunch and Relaxing

Oumou Kanoute

Oumou Kanoute

Northampton, MA — Oumou Kanoute, an African American student attending Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, was “terrified” when the police were called on her while she was just eating lunch in one of the campus’ rooms for students!

Kanoute, an upcoming sophomore at Smith, has been spending summer as a teaching assistant at the same school. Last Tuesday, she was eating lunch and relaxing – what she usually does in a commonly used room when an employee thought she looked suspicious and decided to call the police.

The caller said Kanoute “seems out of place” in the building, according to the campus police transcript released by Smith College.

An officer responded and immediately concluded that it “was a student relaxing in the living room,” the transcript said. No charges were filed, but Kanoute was still left shaken.

She wrote on a Facebook post sharing the incident, “I did nothing wrong, I wasn’t making any noise or bothering anyone. All I did was be black.”

“This is why being black in America is scary,” she added as a caption in the video she took of the interaction.

She was asked why she was there and she calmly answered that she was in the summer program and was just relaxing.

“If you see the video, I was calm, but I wasn’t calm, I was terrified,” she told ABC News.

In a statement on the school’s website, Smith College President Kathleen McCartney deeply apologized for the incident and said the employee who called the campus police “has been placed on leave pending the outcome of the external investigation.”