A Black graduate student spoke out for the first time since being interrogated by police after falling asleep in the common area on Yale University campus.
Lolade Siyonbola, 34, shared a video of the encounter that began after a white female student questioned her presence in the common area. Siyonbola said she was scared for her life following recent police brutality incidents.
“I posted the video just for my safety,” she told “Good Morning America”.
She added, “I have always said to myself since Sandra Bland was killed. I said to myself if I ever have an encounter with police I’ll film myself,” referring to 28-year-old Sandra, a Black woman who allegedly killed herself while in police custody in 2015.
The Yale student posted two videos on Facebook that have received over a million views. Authorities probed Siyonbola for 20 minutes even after she showed them the key to her room. The young woman said Sarah Braasch has a history of calling the cops on Black students after her friend Reneson Jean-Louis, said Braasch accused him of being an intruder in March when he asked for directions.
“It had already been like a stressful week, you know, ahead of this,” Siyonbola told the news outlet. “I had barely been sleeping, so to sort of be on the couch and for the lights to come on, I was like, ‘Who is interrupting my nap?’ after all and to see that it was Sarah, of all people, because she had called the police on my friend before. I was just like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.’… I just went with God and said, ‘Whatever’s meant to be will be,’ but it’s just mind-boggling that you know somebody could behave like this.”
The graduate student added that there should be some sort of punishment for people like her white classmate’s actions.
“Someone who uses the police in the way that Sarah uses it should be held accountable… Whether that’s expulsion [or] some other form of disciplinary action, there needs to be some punitive measures for people who act out of racially motivated bias…. If there are punitive measures I think someone like Sarah will think twice about calling the police,” the Ivy League student added.
Siyonbola said she hopes that Yale will work on its diversity and “becoming a more inclusive place.”
“There is a very small number of Black faculty at Yale… And I think that that would go a long way to improving the inclusivity of the climate at Yale,” the 34-year old stated.