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Professor demands for a Campus Police Accountability Council after accusing officer of racial bias

A Long Beach State professor asked the Long Beach State Academic Senate to develop a Campus Police Accountability Council after alleging to a racially biased incident with campus police.

Dr. Steven Osuna was locked out of the psychology building on May 25 when he left to use the restroom before a meeting. When Osuna called campus police, the officer who arrived did not let the professor in because his faculty ID was in his office.

In the released body camera footage, Osuna gave the officer multiple ways to verify his identity, but the campus law enforcement refused.

“The officer at the incident was following a policy in place at the university. We do not believe the officer acted inappropriately,” said Gregory Woods, a Long Beach State spokesperson.

Woods said President Jane Close-Conoley and police chief John Brockie apologized for the incident. They also assured Osuna they would review building access protocol.

“I’ve heard of other instances where white faculty are locked out of their offices and they’re allowed to enter with no questions or doubt or presumption of guilt,” Osuna said.

Osuna said there had been a previous issue between himself and campus police in 2019. Osuna had organized a campus event with the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition and received an “intimidating” phone call from campus detectives.

He and the California Faculty Association now demand a council to oversee campus law enforcement.

“Policing on campuses needs to be questioned and it needs to be accountable to the community it serves,” Osuna said. “People need to understand to know what the grievances are.”

CSULB has a Center for Community Engagement, which was created in March 2020 to engage “the university and community in creating a just and civil society.”

However, Osuna and his union demand for an independent committee elected by university staff and students.

“This community engagement group wasn’t democratically elected by the university,” Osuna said. “There is no power to oversee or to hold the police accountable. We’re demanding that we create a body that is independent of them.”

The CSULB campus police did not give a response after reaching out for comment.

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