A minority student who serves in student government at the University of Minnesota has been exposed for faking a life-threatening encounter with white officers of the campus police. The student, Nikil Badey, made an Instagram post in early February detailing his harrowing experience where he thought he was going to lose his life as a victim of police brutality.
Badey's story was picked up by the campus newspaper, the Minnesota Daily, and Twin Cities News Talk 1130.
I was returning back home when I saw that there was a police car. Instinctively, a couple thoughts rushed to my mind: breathe, head up, don't walk too fast – not too slow, be normal. I took my mask off, I took my cap off, and I made sure that if anything happened that they were able to see my face. Next to me, there was a white man with his mask off, walking his dog, wearing a black coat as well. I felt safe that there was another presence there and could see the cop cars at the corner of my eyes.
I turned the corner around 5th and 12th and saw sirens going off. Immediately, squad cars pulled on all the sides and cornered me where I couldn't escape or speak. The cop got out of his car and asked me all sorts of information, but the only thing I could think of was: what did I do wrong other than the fact I was a brown man. There were two cops behind me – hands on their guns. I had my hands up and was struggling to find the words I always had thought I'd say if I was EVER in that situation but all I could think of: one sudden move and I would be shot.
I was able to show the officer my University ID saying that I was a university student just trying to clear my mind by taking a late night stroll but they wouldn't believe me. After multiple questions, they turned off their lights and left me alone: no apology, no explanation, nothing. Just me: mentally and emotionally tormented with an experience that will last a lifetime.
At the end of his account, Badey claimed that the experience was the "most traumatic thing" he'd ever experienced, and that it had happened at the hands of "people who are supposed to be there" for [him]." The student added his own call to "defund these b*****ds."
Because of the outrage his post generated, Minnesota Campus Police released the video of the incident, which proved Badey's account was almost completely untrue.
Not only do the officers express that the young man was only stopped because he matched the description of a suspect, they are extremely polite. After the student identifies himself, the officer says he believes him and that the young man is "good to go." The alleged victim even asks officers for a ride afterwards.
Brian Peters, who serves as the executive director for the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, expressed the frustration of the law enforcement community over situations like this.
"We're frustrated that an elected student leader would purposefully choose to stir further division against police on social media using false statements and fabrications," Peters said. "This is irresponsible and further divides the campus culture on safety and community."