An 18-year old student at the University of Cincinnati was killed this weekend after being stunned by a police taser. Everette Howard, a student in a summer program preparing him for college, died after the attack. Friends say that Howard was trying to break up a fight in front of a dorm when campus police arrived on the scene.
Witnesses also say that Howard collapsed after being hit with the taser.
“The whole university is distraught,” said UC Assistant Dean of Students Dawn Wilson. “I just wanted to be here to express my support to students and my condolences to his friends and family and the people who loved him.”
Howard had a bright future ahead of him and appeared to be an emerging campus leader. He was attending a UC summer program to help him succeed in college and his academic mentor claims that the young man stood out from the crowd.
“He was probably the most talented student as far as writing skills, oral, leadership; anytime I had trouble with the rest of the group he would help me out,” said Ekundayo Igeleka.
“The world didn’t get to see who he really was, to fully develop into the man he could have been,” Igeleka said.
The officer who stunned Howard has been put on paid administrative leave until further investigation.
Cincinnati, which is one of the most racially-backward communities in America. The city has a horrific record of killing black men and at one point, police had killed over seven black men without killing a single white male. The city needs help in the racial justice department, and this incident is not going to help.
Howard was also struck by an officer’s taser in a separate incident back in 2010. In both cases, officers claimed that the young man didn’t appear to be in his right mind. In fact, in the first incident, the officer said that Howard jumped from his chair and growled at police before being brought down.
Mr. Howards family and the nation however is left disturbed, by the numerous situations in which law-abiding citizens are arrested or beaten by police for simply intervening in an incident or asking the police officer questions that they don’t feel compelled to answer. Such incidents are a disturbing assault on American civil liberties.
College is a place to make all your dreams come true. But it can also serve as an incubator for your worst nightmares. No matter who is at fault in this incident (the police have a lot of explaining to do), the tragedy is that an 18-year old man with a very bright future is not going to live the life he’d planned.
We’ve got to find a way to protect our kids on campus.