Report States Racial Profiling Was Not Used Against Akom
Akom investigation report released to the public
March 19, 2006 6:14 PM
The independent investigation into the arrest of SF State professor Antwi Akom has concluded that it was the behavior of the professor and not his race that led to the ensuing conflict between the three officers involved in the incident.
The independent report, submitted by former City Attorney Louise Renne and former San Francisco Mayor Willie L. Brown, was released on March 13. The report was commissioned by SF State President Robert Corrigan pertaining to the events surrounding Akom’s arrest on Oct. 25, 2005.
“Based on the available evidence, the security guard and the three officers involved in the incident did not engage in racial profiling,” the report stated.
The security guard, hired by CH2Hill, an engineering and construction firm contracted by the SF State, told investigators that he asked Akom if he “worked here.” He said that Akom said yes without stopping and when asked for identification, Akom walked toward him and started yelling in his face in an irate manner. Fearing that Akom would strike him, the security guard left the building and called his superior.
The report states that the information conveyed from the security guard to his superior, was “race-neutral” since the security guard did not communicate Akom’s race. The superior proceeded to call the Department of Public Safety and when the dispatcher relayed the information to the officers in the field, Akom’s race still went unmentioned.
According to the report, Officer Brandon Rogers arrived at the scene and briefly spoke to the security guard before he climbed the stairs to the second floor. Rogers told investigators that Akom placed himself two inches from his face and started screaming. Rogers then states that Akom shoved him in the chest before he was able to ask him for his identification.
Four out of seven eyewitnesses interviewed by the police said that they too saw Akom push Rogers unprovoked before the two men started to “wrestle.”
Akom has held that it was Rogers who was the aggressor, stating the night of his arrest that Rogers “charged” him as he tried to explain who he was to the officer.
The report states that in November 2005, an interview with Akom was requested. Akom declined three separate requests for an interview made through his criminal defense attorneys, Michael Hinckely and John Keker, between November 2005 and March 2006.
“I am extremely disappointed that the investigators failed to acknowledge what ex-Mayor Brown said to me: That Dr. Akom could not talk to investigators while the criminal case is pending,” said Keker.
“We made it plain to ex-Mayor Brown and ex-City Attorney Renee that Dr. Akom would cooperate as soon as the criminal case was resolved,” Keker said. “They should have said so.”
Renee denied comment stating, “I believe the report speaks for itself.” Brown could not be reached for comment.
“It was expected from the African America community, the student community and the leadership on campus,” said Chris Jackson, president of Associated Students Inc., in response to the 102-page report.
Jackson added that the university is sheltering itself from liability and putting the blame on the victim.
Corrigan asked that the report not just address the issue of racial profiling but also recommend policy changes for the university to consider.
“The university’s policy regarding after-hours access to buildings must be more clearly communicated to faculty, students, and staff,” the report stated. “Faculty, students, and staff must understand the rules governing building security and the requirement to possess and show ID upon request by campus police.”
SF State policy is that all buildings except the library will be secured at 11 p.m. on weekdays and 5:30 p.m. on weekends. The policy also states that identification is required to remain in the buildings after hours during weekends and holidays.
The report relates that “campus police and security guards must be sure to implement all identification policies in an even-handed manner. ”
In a special letter to faculty and staff Corrigan said, “While we have a report that makes clear that no racial profiling took place, we cannot simply put the matter behind us.”
Several attempts were made to contact Akom but he was unavailable for comment.
*Parts of this story were corrected and clarified
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