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Indiana University Fires Police Chief, Settles Lawsuit After Black Student Arrested Over $3 Parking Fee: ‘I Was Scared’

The police chief of Indiana University has been dismissed following the 2022 arrest of a Black graduate student over a $3 parking fee and subsequent lawsuit filed against the school in Bloomington, Indiana.

Moses Baryoh Jr. was arrested on Sept. 7, 2022, after the parking attendants at the IU campus gym parking lot called the police after refusing his cash payment for a $3 parking fee.

Baryoh — who was pursuing his master’s degree in public health in administration and behavior at the time while working for Sexual Violence Prevention and Victim Advocacy at the university — had just finished his workout at the university’s gym when he tried to pay the $3 parking fee with a $5 bill.

Moses Baryoh Jr.
Moses Baryoh Jr. is arrested after a parking attendant refused his cash payment for a $3 parking fee and called the police in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo: Screenshot Indiana University of Bloomington Police Body camera footage)

However, the parking attendant told the graduate student that he could only pay with a card attached to his bursar account for an additional $10. The attendant then opened the gate after some miscommunication, and Baryoh later noted that he drove home with the understanding that his bursar account would be charged for the fee.

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However, the parking attendants called the police, and IU Police Department officers Austin Magness and Charlotte Watts were dispatched to his home after first obtaining his picture from IU staff.

Baryoh was in the shower when the officers knocked, and he yelled that he was in the shower and couldn’t hear anything. The officers returned to their car but later returned upon seeing Baryoh wearing no shirt and a pair of shorts outside and detained him. They did not immediately mention the parking dispute, body camera footage shows.

“You Moses?” asked Magness after seeing Baryoh outside.

“Yeah,” replied Baryoh.

“What’s up, Buddy? Can you come chat with me real fast? Do you have any idea why I’m here?”

“I don’t,” replied Baryoh as Magness told him to sit, but he declined and asked why he was being asked to sit. “A seat? Why?”

“Can you just work with me, man?” said Magness.

“I’m working with you,” replied Baryoh. “I can get my identification,” he said as he motioned toward his apartment. “Can you all tell me what this is about?”

“Can you work with us first?” replied Magness.

Read the full story on Atlanta Black Star.

After Baryoh declined to get any closer to the officers, who were standing on one side of a car while the student calmly stood on the other, Magness walked over to Bayroh and grabbed him, put him against the vehicle, and said, “Put your hands behind your back. You’re gonna go to jail, dude.”

Magness later told Baryoh he was being arrested for not following directions when he told the student to sit down. After being detained and put in the back of the squad car, Baryoh was told why the police were there.

“I was scared,” Baryoh told the officers.

The criminal charges were later dropped.

Baryoh filed a lawsuit on June 6, according to Inside Indiana Business, saying his Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated. The lawsuit accused the officers of “unreasonable search and seizure, excessive force, false arrest, due process violation, battery, assault and negligence,” according to Fox59 News.

The lawsuit was settled on Sept. 5, 2023.

Former IU police chief Jill Lees conducted an investigation of the arrest in October 2022 but determined “no wrongdoing had occurred” and no subsequent action was taken.

Indiana University released a statement.

“We are deeply saddened by the behavior and actions that took place and offer our sincere apology to the individual and to our community,” read the statement. “Indiana University holds our staff, faculty, and leadership to the highest standards of ethical conduct and integrity, including IUPD.”

The university announced on Sept. 8 that Lees was dismissed from his position.

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