Archived: 10 Black Students Accused of Dine and Dash Despite Having Receipts

Ten Black incoming students at Washington University were racially profiled while walking back from an IHOP restaurant when police stopped and accused them of skipping out on their bill.

Several of the students still had their receipts and presented them to the officers. But this wasn’t enough. The authorities forced the students to walk back to the restaurant, followed by six police cars, to talk to IHOP employees and confirm that they were not the suspects they were looking for.

The Clayton Police Department appeared to deflect blame from its officers in its statement. The IHOP in question has dealt with a few dozen dine and dash incidents this year alone, the police reported. CPD also described the students’ experience as “collateral damage” of the high volume of dine and dash incidents affecting the community.

Police Chief Kevin Murphy denied that six squad cars followed the students and said it was “more likely four patrol cars,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Murphy also said the suspects were described as four Black people (not ten, the number of students in the group police stopped) who had skipped out on a $62 bill.

“Our department has and will continue to study what could have been done better in this and in all incidents where we have complaints,” the department said. “Even without any apparent policy or legal violations, we look for ways to improve and make our officers even more effective in positive interactions.”

The students have not been identified by name but are all Black and incoming freshmen at the university. They are staying on the campus as part of a summer program focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), according to the Post-Dispatch.

The school’s Association of Black Students issued a statement, reported by KMOV, calling out the department for its lack of accountability:

The comments of Police Chief Murphy minimize the impact of his officers’ conduct, thus invalidating the experience of those affected. Murphy characterizes this misconduct as a mere inconvenience — this indicates that there is likely a significant failure on his part to understand the responsibility of law enforcement to ensure that civilians are treated with dignity and respect. The officers involved in this incident, a false accusation against ten Black Washington University students claiming that they left a restaurant without paying, engaged in the most dangerous form of racial profiling by relying solely on the race of the incoming students when stopping them.

The university as a whole expressed grave disappointment that the students endured such an experience while living on their campus and preparing to call their school “home.”

“They were recruited from all over the United States and, as high-school students, worked tremendously hard with an eye toward attending an institution like ours,” the university said in a statement. “We, and many of our peer institutions, competed head-to-head to recruit them. The community in which they would learn, live, socialize and engage was a very important factor in deciding which school they would attend. We won their confidence and they chose to join our student body because they believed they would have an exceptional experience at Washington University and here in St. Louis.”

Latest News

Video: How Companies Are Ensuring Equity for People With Disabilities

The National Organization on Disability held its annual forum in Washington, D.C. last week, bringing together community leaders, advocates, government officials and corporate leaders and influencers to focus on the advancement of people with disabilities in the workplace. DiversityInc also met up with leaders from Capital One Financial (No. 22…

Validated Allies wallpaper

DiversityInc Announces 2022 Validated Allies

Allyship is a journey rather than a destination. The work of an ally never really ends and allies understand they are not necessarily always working toward a goal, but rather, serving a greater purpose. Each year, as part of our Women of Color and Their Allies event, DiversityInc recognizes a…

CDO Series: Sysco’s Adrienne Trimble

Following the murder of George Floyd, the role of Chief Diversity Officers has become more important as companies started to be more intentional with their diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, which has made the last few years tumultuous for many CDOs. In the latest installment of a series of articles…

NOD Forum: Honoring the Disability Rights Movement

The road to disability rights has been a long one. One that started long before the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 was passed. In celebration of 40 years of the National Organization on Disability, disability leaders, supporters and activists gathered in Washington, D.C last week to discuss the…

5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: September 29

As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused audience. 1. Research Outlines Lack…

Marriott International building

Marriott International Receives 12 Platinum Honors at the MUSE Creative Awards

Originally published at Marriott International is a Hall of Fame company.   Marriott International’s unmatched portfolio of luxury brands earned 12 Platinum Awards representing 5 dynamic brands, across 10 categories in the 2022 MUSE Creative Awards — an international competition for creative professionals. The industry leader within the luxury…

Marriott International Debuts Its New Global Headquarters Focused on Wellbeing

Originally published at Marriott International is a Hall of Fame company.   After six years of planning, design and construction, Marriott International has opened its global headquarters in downtown Bethesda, Maryland. The 21-story, 785,000-square-foot, LEEDv4 Gold-certified building is the new workplace for corporate associates, supporting over 8,100 hotels in 139…