A group of students from the University of Southern California claim they were targets of racial profiling.
The students, most of whom were black or Latino, say the Los Angeles Police Department broke up the party due to a noise complaint. But a similar party across the street, which touted a Caucasian crowd, was left alone, CBS LA reports.
“Most people were dispersing and leaving. The police came back and told everyone to get out, and that’s eventually what people started to do until they started to get crazy,” Nate Howard, who hosted the party, told the news outlet.
Howard, who was arrested, said the incident took place at around 2 a.m.
The noise complaint came after students reportedly threw objects at LAPD officers that came to the scene, Dept. of Public Safety Capt. David Carlisle told the campus newspaper, the Daily Trojan.
In a YouTube video posted by student Lamar Gary, he counts at least 79 police officers in riot gear, night sticks, tasers and guns.
The LAPD says the scene warranted a large number of officers, because they were attempting to break up a crowd of about 400 students, KABC reports.
LAPD Watch Commander Sgt. Efrain Tigao told The Daily Trojan that the response is not an overreaction.
“We do not have a statement, but it is not unusual on a weekend night in this area for officers to be in riot gear,” he told the campus newspaper.
This isn’t the first time the LAPD has shown up in riot gear to break up a party. In 2008, a similar incident took place.
More recently, a Halloween shooting that took place on campus ramped up security. The suspect in the shooting, which injured four people, had no ties to USC, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Makiah Green, a student who wrote the blog post “I’m A Scholar, Not A Criminal: The Plight Of Black Students At USC," says the incident led to racial profiling.
“We have been trained to double-check for USC logos on the sweatshirts of minority males on and around this campus to make sure that they’re ‘one of us.’ It doesn’t surprise me that LAPD has adopted the same attitude,” she writes.
In response to the incident, students have organized a sit-in at the Trojan Shrine, a well-known campus statue, on Monday. On the event’s Facebook page, more than 600 people are listed as attending.