Viral video shows campus police pin down black university student when he refuses to show ID

Student says officers’ actions were racially motivated

NEW YORK (WPIX/CNN) – Viral video shows a Columbia University student being restrained by security after he refuses to show his identification at an event.

The student, Alexander McNab, says the public safety officers’ actions were racially motivated.

The video shows Barnard College officers restrain McNab on Thursday evening as they ask him to show his ID to prove he’s indeed a student at Columbia.

Barnard and Columbia share facilities, and students often move between the campuses across the street from one another.

"I saw that someone had posted about an hour ago about there being some food at the Milstein Center,” McNab said. “So, I decided to come over to Barnard's campus to see if there was any food left."

School policy dictates anyone entering Barnard needs to show identification after hours, a policy which students say is rarely enforced for white students.

"I started hearing somebody, 'Hello, sir, hello, sir,’" McNab said.

When he refused to show his ID, the officers held him down.

McNab said he doesn’t think he matched what the public safety officers perceived as a Columbia University student.

"And the reason that I say that is because there were other people, even people that we talked to that night – Oh, and then also there was a listening session held the day after, where some students spoke who said that they came in after I did, right, and were not stopped by anybody," McNab said.

Barnard Public Safety has put the six officers involved on leave and is hiring an independent investigator, saying in a statement: “We are taking this very seriously and look forward to further engaging the community on this topic.”

"They call it administrative leave with pay. I call it paid vacation,” McNab said. “I don't think it would be a bad idea to fire them, but I don't think that’s solving any problems."

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