Below is a statement from the Social Justice Club at Parkland College. On Wednesday, September 20, they held a rally to demand accountability from the Parkland administration.
On September 7, 2017, a Parkland College student, Oluwatobi Mordi, also known as Toby, was assaulted and falsely accused of impersonation [of a student] by Parkland Police. Toby was in the cafeteria awaiting his ride home when two officers approached him. Without any justification or probable cause, the officers asked for proof of Toby’s identification. Toby complied and gave the officers proof of his identification in the form of his Parkland ID. Despite this fact, the officers falsely accused him of impersonating a student and then, without reading him his Miranda Rights, proceeded to assault him, causing a violent scene in the cafeteria, which ended with the police beating Toby with a club repeatedly and arresting him. This is another example of exacerbated disciplinary action at Parkland College and the criminalization of black youth. This institution chose to use excessive police force on a young Black student who was simply minding his own business, waiting for his ride after class at a public institution that he pays tuition to attend. Toby’s case is a clear example of being stopped while Black which is a constant issue for Black community members in the Champaign area.
This is not an isolated incident, Parkland College has a history of creating an unwelcoming environment for Black staff and students. This can be shown by looking through comments by former Black students on the Parkland Police Facebook page. Additionally, Parkland College recently laid off minority faculty last year and has a pending suit against a Black professor. This shows their disregard for Black employees as well as Black students.
As a student body, we should feel welcomed and not surveilled by an institution we pay money to attend. We, as tuition paying students, should not be harassed by police for our racial or ethnic identity while the administration willfully ignores it. Parkland College is choosing to criminalize Mordi. As a student body, this cannot stand. As a community dedicated to social justice, this cannot stand.
During this time we also want to uplift and support Toby through donations towards his legal funds. Please donate here: https://www.youcaring.com/tobymordi-948551.