Several Muslim groups are demanding an apology from Univ. of Central Florida police after the department used the term “Middle Eastern” to describe a suspect.
The police are being accused of “jumping to conclusions” about what was happening on campus after a rumor started spreading Tuesday afternoon that some students spotted “a girl inside the library with a gun.”
“A social media post about a woman with a gun praying inside the library sent the campus into a frenzy,” WFTV9 reported.
UCF police say they started receiving 911 calls, which included a description of the person as looking “Muslim” and “Middle Eastern”.
“We were sitting in the stairwell and this girl came in who was wearing like a full Muslim, a Berk, yeah a Hijab, like everything. She looked like really, like panicky,” said one 911 caller.
The campus was on lockdown for a short time, after the unconfirmed report prompted a campus-wide alert– communicated via emails, text messages and on social media.
Maha Qureshi, future president of UCF’s Muslim Student Association said, police did a great job responding to the situation, but she wishes they could’ve been more sensitive in the way they put out their message.
UCF police originally tweeted: “Possible Middle Eastern gunman/woman in UCF main campus library. Avoid the area.”
Police Chief Richard Beary is standing by the messages that went out. He says when they are in a time crunch, mistakes do happen but the information that went out is what was intended to go out, he said.
Beary stressed during a news conference afterwards that these are “time-sensitive” situations and that the message was not meant to be insensitive.
The tweet was later deleted, but a dept spokesperson said that was done in the “heat of the moment” but it was a mistake, WFTV reports.
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