A college has apologised after two Native American teenagers were removed from a campus tour because a woman told police their behaviour was “really odd”.
Colorado State University is inviting the pair back to the school for a VIP tour and is offering to pay for their travel – as well as the expenses for their original trip.
Thomas Kanewakeron Gray, 19, said police stopped him and his brother, Lloyd Skanahwati Gray, 17, while the tour group was inside a gymnasium during the visit.
He described the officers’ questioning as aggressive.
The video shows the brothers, who are dressed casually, walking in a group when officers order them to move to the side.
The younger brother is asked to remove his hands from his pockets, with the police telling them their pockets are going to be searched..
They are then asked for their IDs and asked why they didn’t respond to questions in the group.
“The reason we stopped you and talked to you is because someone from the group called and said you guys just kind of came into the group,” the officer said. “They also said they tried to ask you guys questions and you didn’t want to answer questions.”
The older teen quickly responds, explaining that they had arrived late for the tour and that his younger brother is shy. The younger teen offers to retrieve the email confirming their tour reservations.
After being shown the confirmation, one of the officers apologised for taking them away from the group before handing back an ID card and wishing them “a good rest of the day”.
The group had moved on, and the brothers then left and returned to New Mexico.
“I think it’s pretty discriminatory,” Thomas Kanewakeron Gray said on Thursday. “Me and my brother just stayed to ourselves the whole time. I guess that was scaring people; that we were just quiet.”
In an email to students on Friday, university president Tony Frank said: “Two young men, through no fault of their own, wound up frightened and humiliated because another campus visitor was concerned about their clothes and overall demeanour, which appears to have simply been shyness.
“The very idea that someone – anyone – might ‘look’ like they don’t belong on a CSU Admissions tour is anathema.”
The university is taking several steps to prevent a similar situation from happening again, including the use of lanyards or badges to identify tour guests.
According to the recording, the caller told a dispatcher that the teens arrived late in the tour and wouldn’t respond to questions about their names or what they wanted to study at the school.
“They are not, definitely not, a part of the tour,” said the woman, identified in a police report as a 45-year-old white woman from Colorado. “And their behavior is just really odd. And I’ve never called, ever, about anybody. But they joined our tour. They won’t give their names.”
The woman also said during the call that the teens were “lying the whole time”, but doesn’t offer specifics to support the claim, except to say that one of them laughed when she asked what they were studying.
She also repeatedly told the dispatcher that her concern could be “completely paranoid” and apologised “if it’s nothing”.
From – SkyNews