A white librarian called the police on a black student, and the internet is debating whether it is another case of racism or if the woman was just doing her job.
Juán-Pabló Gonźalez, a black student at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., decided to study at the university’s law library on on October 10, 2018. Gonźalez claims that he had previously been told (by a school librarian, whose name he could not recall) that as a Master of Library and Information Sciences student he would be allowed in the law library, even though there is signage outside the facility that states the library is restricted to law students only.
Upon entering the facility he was confronted by the library desk clerk on duty, law student Brittany McNurlin, who says in the video that she isn’t aware of any exceptions to the rule.
After questioning Gonźalez, McNurlin tells campus police that she allowed him to study, but was still unsure of the exception and told him she would write a note about it for her superior.
Gonźalez was then released by McNurlin to study in the library but feeling he’d been treated unjustly, he soon returned to the clerk’s desk, asking for the name and number of her supervisor. McNurlin stated to campus police that she gave him the supervisor’s contact information but that she felt as though Gonźalez was being “argumentative” and decided to call the campus police.
It was at this point that Gonźalez started filming:
The video starts with Gonźalez explaining that:
“…this woman is going to call the police on me because I was questioning her.”
He reiterates what has transpired between the two, talking directly to McNurlin on the video:
“So, ma’am let me get this straight, you’ve decided to call the police because I’m asking you questions about the law library…and that warrants the police?”
At one point during their discussion, Gonźalez says that in addition to being a master of library information science student, he also works for the law library in the archives.
Throughout the video Gonźalez can be heard calmly refuting McNurlin’s characterization of him as “argumentative” to officers when they arrive.
Gonźalez says that he was:
“…simply asking questions about the law library.”
When a campus officer explains that school policy allows only law students to use the facility, Gonźalez asks:
“…then, why’d the dean of our school tell us we could us this library?”
Gonźalez told The Root:
“Because the entire transaction was so negative, I went back and said, ‘Can I have your supervisor’s information?’ I didn’t say anything else,” Gonźalez said, to which she refused. “I said: ‘I’m asking for the information of the managing librarian of this facility and you’re refusing? On what basis? Just because you don’t like the way I’m asking?’”
The Root notes that, after McNurlin refused Gonźalez’s second request, she “snatched” a business card from the desk and gave it to Gonźalez:
“I asked some more questions about why she took so long to give me the information … She said I was being argumentative and that she didn’t like my tone,” Gonźalez said, to which he replied: “I didn’t ask for your personal opinion. I just asked for information about this facility so that I can use it.”
That’s when McNurlin decided to make her call to campus police.
Many commenters on Twitter were outraged, seeing it as a clear-cut case of racism: