GLASSBORO — Police on Monday pulled over two Rowan University students on the campus before determining they were not involved in the incident they were investigating, authorities said.
NJ.com reported that the incident Monday afternoon terrified two African-American students, identified as Altaif Hassan, 21, and Giavanna Roberson, 18.
Glassboro Police Chief Franklin S. Brown Jr. posted a statement to the department Facebook page Wednesday that said around 4:28 p.m. Monday, officers were investigating a shoplifting incident at Collegetown Shopping Center when a citizen told them he saw someone point a “black handgun at a vehicle that was parked in the fire lane."
The citizen identified the vehicle as a black Dodge Charger and pointed it out to officers as it left the shopping center, police said. An officer in the area saw the vehicle described as it was traveling on Heston Road and police stopped it near North Campus Drive at the university.
No handgun was found in the car, police said.
Police “utilized their training and followed established protocol to ensure the safety of everyone involved in this incident,” Brown's statement said.
Glassboro police also released body camera footage of the initial incident when the tip came in.
“Officers have an obligation to investigate when this type of information is provided regarding a serious threat of an alleged armed subject in our community for the safety of all involved including the people that are subject of the investigation,” the statement said.
Rowan University published a statement to its Facebook page on Wednesday saying “the manner in which (police) made the stop has troubled some of the University community.”
“We recognize that this event has shaken many members of our Rowan family, including those who witnessed the stop. Since Monday, University officials have been working with the students involved in the incident, including offering services to those impacted by the stop,” the post said.
The university statement also said the incident “sparked a broader conversation about race relations,” specifically in law enforcement, and that it would host an open forum at 11 a.m. Friday in the Student Center ballroom to discuss the matter.
“Our administration, including our Public Safety leadership, welcomes this dialogue as we continue to work to ensure all of our students, employees and guests not only are safe but also receive equitable treatment," the statement said.