A federal court in Dallas let stand allegations of unlawful stop and detention in a bizarre incident where a member of a campus police force stopped a student of Indian descent for “looking like a terrorist.” The original incident took place on the campus of Houston Community College, when Thalia Vouchides and a fellow student were discussing a murder they had just heard about on the news. The conversation was overhead by another student who reported it to the campus officer, Colleen Adams. The campus cop approached the pair “waiv[ing] a piece of paper, claiming it was a complaint from someone saying Ms. Vouchides made a terroristic threat.” No such paper existed, but the officer was on a roll.
Adams, who was previously accused of creating a hostile work environment by ten of her co-workers, requested Vouchides’s license and green card, which were produced, and asked why she had an accent (judge for yourself at the video here). After leading her to the campus security office, Vouchides claims Adams pinned her arms behind her back and “slammed her against an office wall” and detained her for an hour. After Vouchides filed an initial complaint against the officer with the college, she claims Adams began following her and purposefully bumping into or brushing against her on campus. After a news report of the incident was shown by cosmetology instructors on campus, some students began harassing Vouchides and her friend with racial and derogatory comments. There are no indications as to whether Adams is a fan of Observe and Report.
While dismissing claims against the college, U.S. District Judge Lee Rosenthal allowed allegations against Adams to move forward. The ruling tops a tough couple weeks for Houston Community College, which was recently faced with a professor making embarrassing comments about transgender students. In that instance the community college district is now looking to add gender identity and expression to its nondiscrimination policy.