CSU tour guide apologizes for police called on prospective students
May 04, 2018 06:52 PM
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Blindsided was the word tour guide Gabriella Visani used when describing two of her tour guests being questioned by police.
She’s a senior at Colorado State University, and she wants the Gray family to know her university is a place where they’re supported and accepted.
"Yeah, it didn't make them feel welcome. Just felt like they didn't belong here, which is not true,” Visani said.
It all started when another parent on the tour became nervous after 19-year-old Thomas Gray and 17-year-old Lloyd Gray joined the tour while it was in progress. A 911 phone call released by the university captures the woman describing what she saw while on the tour.
“I am with my son doing a campus tour…there are two young men that joined our tour. They’re definitely not part of the tour, and their behavior is just odd. I’ve never called about anybody," the caller can be heard saying. "They joined our tour. They won’t give us their names. When I asked them what they wanted to study, I felt like they were lying the entire time. They really just stand out. They just stand out. Their clothing has dark stuff on it. Weird symbolism and wording on it. One of them has his left hand in their undershirt the whole time."
She goes on to say in that 911 call, “I think they’re Hispanic, I believe. One of them for sure. He said he’s from Mexico. When I asked them what they wanted to study, I could tell they were making stuff up. One of them started to laugh about it.”
The unidentified woman further told the 911 dispatcher, “I feel completely ridiculous. They’re probably just fine and creepy kids.”
Lorraine Gray, Thomas and Lloyd's mother, said she hopes the developments yielded a learning lesson for the woman who she says racially profiled her sons.
“I hope this never happens to your children and I hope that you learn a lesson about judging people by its cover,” Gray said.
The tour guide took to Facebook, sending Gray a personal heartfelt letter after the incident.
"I am so sorry that I did not know. I am so sorry that I could not have stopped this from happening," she wrote.
Visani went on to say that she was frustrated that the mother of the other student didn’t tell her before calling police on her guests.
"Incidents of bias, racism and interactions between the police and people of color, interactions between all sorts of different groups – if we don't have these types of conversations, we won’t acknowledge the issues," she wrote. "I'm sad that CSU has to be part of that conversation. But I want it to be CSU because CSU is a place where we don't tolerate this kind of thing."
KOB 4 obtained body-cam footage from the incident where police questioned the Gray brothers.
In the video, they ask the teens to take their hands out of their pockets, also asking them if they have anything in their pockets before checking them. That transpires before police ask for ID and question the two on their intentions for being on campus.
After about six minutes, they finish their questions and send the Gray brothers on their way.
Updated: May 04, 2018 06:52 PM
Created: May 04, 2018 06:02 PM
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