UAH PRESIDENT MEETS, APOLOGIZES TO BLACK TEEN IN CONTROVERSIAL TRAFFIC STOP

SOURCE: Associated Press

17-year-old Caleb Crutcher was pulled over by UAH campus police on campus for a broken tail light. His mother, Chanda Mills Crutcher (pictured above), said they told him to get out of the car and then asked him inappropriate questions without cause.

The president of the University of Alabama at Huntsville and top members of the school’s administrat ive team on Monday met with and apologized to the Black teen who was allegedly pulled over by a UAH officer earlier this month and repeatedly asked whether he had “crack” or a “dead prostitute” in his vehicle.

“We informed the family that this incident has been investigated and corrective actions have been taken,” said UAH President Darren Dawson in a statement released Monday. “We again apologized for the incident and had a meaningful and productive conversation about how we will improve our service to the UAH and Huntsville communities.”

Dawson announced steps to prevent and report police misconduct but did not say whether disciplinary action against the officer was part of the “corrective actions.”

Last week, Chanda Mills Crutcher, the mother of 17-yearold Caleb Crutcher, posted allegations on Facebook about an Oct. 3 traffic stop involving Caleb.

Chanda Mills Crutcher said her son was leaving work at 11:10 that night when he was pulled over by a UAH officer for a cracked taillight.

“The officer referred to my 17 year old as ‘brother’ and asked several times if he had any weed or crack or drugs or a dead prostitute in his car,” she wrote. “They asked him why he was sweating. (A Mother’s Cry: Because he’s NEVER been in ANY trouble!).”

She said her son, who has a 3.9 GPA, plays football and runs his own nonprofit organization, was “traumatized” over the police interaction. Caleb is not a “thug,” she said. Chanda Mills Crutcher could not be reached for further comment.

But she wrote that the incident does not mean she is “anti-police.”

 “I don’t feel that we should ‘Defund the Police.’ This is not an anti-police post. This is an anti-poor policing post,” she wrote. “UAH has to do better!! The officer that pulled my son over was ignorant and poorly trained…”

UAH said it would make changes to its police force.

On Monday, Dawson said the university’s “action plan” in wake of the allegations included increasing awareness of three ways to report claims of police misconduct, including the UAHPD Citizen Complaint Form.

Laterrica Shelton, the university’s vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, will chair a committee to review campus police practices, policies and procedures, Dawson said.

Campus officers will also undergo extra training.

 “Together we will work diligently to strengthen our community relationships and ensure all members of our community are treated fairly, equitably, and with understanding,” the president said.