The University of Tennessee Chattanooga released footage and a statement Tuesday denying allegations of racial profiling by university police, which were made in a viral Facebook post last week.
In a Facebook post with more than 17,000 shares, alumna and former staff member Carmen Carson described an "alarming encounter" in which she was pulled over and surrounded by UTC police officers for allegedly running a stop sign, which she says she did not.
After announcing an investigation the day after the incident, UTC concluded its fact-finding Tuesday, determining there was nothing improper about the stop.
"The investigation found there was no racial profiling, and the officers involved with the traffic stop stated they did not know the race of the person in the vehicle," according to the release by Chancellor Steve Angle. "The review also showed the officers treated the driver with respect and dignity and followed standard training and protocols for making the stop."
The school apologized to Carson for the stressful situation that made her feel "profiled, targeted and shaken by the encounter with UTC police."
"Our actions support and demonstrate our work to eliminate racism as part of our core values as an institution," the release read.
"The review shows that campus police handled this matter according to policy and professionally, therefore, no disciplinary action is warranted. However, we will continue with de-escalation training, community policing strategies, and we are implementing policy revisions and clarifications."
The university released seven different clips of dash board camera and bodyworn camera footage from the four officers in three vehicles who were involved.
While the video contradicts the number of officers Carson reported being involved (she said it was six), the factual allegations of her post are largely confirmed in the footage, including a dispute between her and the officers over whether the stop sign was ignored, the only Black officer present being the one to approach the vehicle and the intervention of concerned neighbors.
In the video, neighbors are heard yelling "what did she do," as officers have Carson stopped.
"This stop doesn't involve you," one officer yells back. "I'm not going to argue with you. Go back inside. This is your last warning."
When the police talk to the neighbors after letting Carson go, one neighbor says "honestly, f—- you man," to the police before a more lengthy complaint about his own interactions with the department. One man gives the officer a fist bump and a woman goes to check on Carson.
Carson comes back over to the neighbors, thanks them for checking on her during the stop and points out to one officer that he has met her and her husband, who also works at the university, before.
One of the men later tells the officers to tell the officer who had told them to go inside to "lay off the donuts," calling him "fat boy."
The incident comes following weeks of unrest across the country and world, including Chattanooga, in response to several recent fatal incidents of police brutality, and just one day after video was released showing Hamilton County deputies accosting, restraining and repeatedly striking an unarmed Black man after stopping him for walking on the wrong side of the road.
Angle says the incident highlights the importance of ongoing initiatives to address racial bias and that the university will create an advisory board to promote dialogue between campus police and security.
"Earlier in June, as chancellor, I sent out a campus-wide memo that challenged each of us, individually and as an institution, to create the future our students deserve, the future our community and nation deserve. If we are to achieve significant change, each of us - faculty, staff, students, alumni, and other stakeholders - has a role," he wrote.
"We have to learn how a history of actions and at times inactions shapes opinions of racial bias. We will teach and learn. Our future actions will measure change, and we will be accountable."
Carson did not respond to requests for comment via phone, email or social media.
Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6416. Follow her on Twitter @_sarahgtaylor.