A white librarian called the cops on a black student who was trying to study in the library
Another day, another awful story about a white person needlessly calling the cops on a black person. This particular incident happened at Catholic University of America, and revolved around a white librarian who called the police after a black student questioned her about library protocol.
Juán-Pabló Gonźalez told The Root that he decided to head to his university’s law library on Oct. 10th. As a a Master of Library and Information Sciences student, he has access to that particular library and studied there a number of times before. His ID doesn’t work for that building but he usually follows the same easy protocol.
“I had just been ringing the buzzer, waiting for them to buzz me in and then showing them my ID to prove I was a library information science student,” Gonźalez said. “And I was able to get in without any issues.”
This time around, though, he was stopped by librarian Brittany McNurlin. “She was pretty rude,” Gonźalez recalled. “She said: ‘The law library is for law library students.’ So I told her that I realized that, but that we’d been given permission to use the library.”
After some back and forth, McNurlin allowed Gonźalez to use the library but said she would write a note about the incident. The whole interaction left Gonźalez feeling (understandably) frustrated and he returned to her desk to ask for her supervisor’s information. She initially refused.
“I said: ‘I’m asking for the information of the managing librarian of this facility and you’re refusing? On what basis? Just because you don’t like the way I’m asking?’” Gonźalez told The Root. “…I asked some more questions about why she took so long to give me the information…She said I was being argumentative and that she didn’t like my tone.”
Then, McNurlin called the police. She complained that there was an “an argumentative student” (really? is that a reason to call the police?) and Gonźalez calmly questioned her as to why she felt the need to report him.
“So m’am let me get this straight. You’ve decided to call the police because I’m asking you questions about the law library,” he said. “They were simple questions and we’re living in a time when calling the police on someone of color could actually put their lives in danger.”
Seven police officers showed up to the library. McNurlin explained that she had called them because Gonźalez was being “argumentative” and she “did not appreciate it.”
Yup. Much like the woman who called the police on a black man trying to enter his own building or the woman who called the police on a black child selling lemonade, there was literally no reason to contact the authorities. We’re officially living in a world where someone can call the police because of a “tone.”
Gonźalez was forced to leave the library. He has since reported McNurlin but was told by his school that she would just receive “additional training.” That’s a small price to pay for calling the police on a student who asked a few reasonable questions about library protocol.
Meanwhile, Gonźalez is going to keep fighting back .“I’m not going to accept the racism that’s on this campus,” he said. “I’m not going to be quiet, and I’m going to challenge it.”