A Yale campus police officer who detained the son of black New York Times columnist Charles Blow is also black, according to a campus-wide email sent out by Yale officials.
On Saturday, Blow wrote on Twitter that he was “fuming” over a call he received from his son, a third-year student at Yale. He wrote that his son was “accosted” and held up at gunpoint by a Yale policeman because he fit the description of a suspect. Blow’s son, Tahj Blow, is an ecology and evolutionary biology major, according to the Yale Daily News.
In followup tweets related to the incident, Blow said, “This is exactly why I have no patience for people trying to convince me that the fear these young black men feel isn’t real.” He also tweeted the phrases “I can’t breathe” and “Black lives matter,” both of which are associated with two unarmed black men killed by white police officers in separate incidents in Missouri and New York.
Blow published a Times column on Monday with his thoughts on the matter. "I am reminded,” he wrote, "of what I have always known, but what some would choose to deny: that there is no way to work your way out — earn your way out — of this sort of crisis. In these moments, what you’ve done matters less than how you look.”
The race of the officer who detained Blow’s son is not mentioned in Blow’s column.
"The officer, who himself is African American, was responding to a specific description relayed by individuals who had reported a crime in progress,” said a Monday email to Yale’s campus community. The email was first noticed by The Root, a black-centric news website.
"What happened on Cross Campus on Saturday is not a replay of what happened in Ferguson; Staten Island; Cleveland; or so many other places in our time and over time in the United States,” the email said.
The email is signed by Yale President Steve Salovey, Dean of Yale College Jonathan Halloway and Yale Police Department Chief Ronnell Higgins.
Higgins is also black.
Blow did not return a request for comment on why he omitted the race of the officer in his column or whether the race of the officer matters.