A Black college student in Texas said campus police stormed into her dorm room with their guns drawn after a group of mostly white students falsely accused her of a crime.
This incident happened Sept. 14 at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas, about 160 miles southeast of Dallas.
Attorney Randall Kallinen said at a news conference Monday that his client, Christin Evans, was asleep in her dorm when around 3 a.m. she woke up to officers barging in with guns drawn and lights shining into her eyes.
“This could have been a Breonna Taylor circumstance,” Kallinen said, referring to the 26-year-old Black woman who was fatally shot by Louisville police in March during a drug raid at her home.
“Luckily, the police did not shoot Christin Evans,” the attorney said.
Police were called to the dorm after a mostly white group of 10 students falsely accused Evans of threatening to stab someone with scissors, Kallinen said. Three of the people involved were Evans’ roommates, said the attorney, who demanded that all 10 students be expelled and charged with a crime.
Kallinen told NBC affiliate KPRC in Houston that he believes the incident was racially motivated. In a press release, he accused the students of “swatting,” a dangerous prank that involves someone making a false report in an attempt to get a police response at another person’s address.
“These adults should be punished for ‘swatting’ and trying to get Christin falsely arrested and kicked out of school,” the attorney said.
Kallinen said campus police reviewed dorm surveillance video which showed that Evans did not do anything wrong. But the family said that two weeks after the incident they are still waiting for the school to take action.
The university president said in a statement posted on Twitter on Monday that the school “takes this matter very seriously” and it is under investigation.
“Filing a false report violates the SFA Code of Conduct and potentially violates the law as well,” President Scott Gordon said, adding that the investigation will take time and he urges people to withhold judgment until its conclusion.
“My heart goes out to the young woman who was an innocent victim in this matter,” he said. “We will do all we can to support her and her family through this heinous ordeal.”
Stephen F. Austin this semester has an enrollment of nearly 13,000 students, of whom approximately 13.9 are percent Black, 59.2 percent white and 19.3 percent Hispanic, with most of the rest either Asian or of two or more races, according to a school report.
The university and the campus police did not immediately return requests for comment Tuesday.
In a video-recorded statement sent to KPRC, campus police chief John Fields said that the university is “investigating a racially diverse group of students in an incident involving a false report to the university police department.”
“The students responsible will be held accountable for their actions at every possible level,” Fields said.
Evans, 17, said she had been looking forward to her freshman year in college but the ordeal has made it hard for her.
“I’m taking it one day at a time,” she said at the news conference, getting emotional.
“I just want justice for my daughter. She didn’t do anything,” her mother, LaShondra Evans, said.
Kallinen said Evans has switched dorm rooms and is continuing to take classes at the university.