EUGENE, Ore. – A University of Oregon student filed a complaint against the University of Oregon Police Department after he was ordered to the ground at gunpoint.
UOPD apologized and they are currently reviewing body camera footage to see if they should have done anything differently.
After midnight on Friday, UOPD said officers spotted someone trying to break into a construction site on campus using bolt cutters. According to UOPD, the suspect ran. Officers believed he was hiding inside the Erb Memorial Union building, so they evacuated the building.
UO student Sterling Baraquio is a student DJ for the campus radio station. Baraquio said he was working an overnight shift when an officer entered the studio and told him to leave immediately. Baraquio said the officer walked him to the exit but did not escort him outside of the building.
Baraquio was met by police officers outside and was ordered to the ground.
“Once I exited the building I saw about two to three officers sprinting towards me with their flashlights and guns drawn screaming, ‘get on the ground, get on the ground’.”
UOPD said they were assisted by officers from the Eugene Police Department. Baraquio said he was on the ground for about a minute before the officer that escorted him to the exit returned.
Baraquio said the KWVA studio is locked at all times.
“He took me out of a locked facility that is secure and brought me out into danger,” Baraquio said. “I don’t think that any of that should have happened. And I think it would have been avoided if they had properly communicated with me.”
UOPD Chief of Police, Matthew Carmichael, said these are situations they do their best to avoid.
“Any time you have guns pointed at you, it’s scary, even if it’s the police,” Carmichael said. “Remember, the officers are taking actions at that time based on the information that they have. It’s usually very dynamic information, moving very fast, and the interest is the safety of our students and our community.”
Carmichael said officers are trained to draw their guns when they feel the community, or their own safety, is at risk.
The suspect in question never went inside the EMU, but ran past it, according to Carmichael. Police are still looking for him. Call UOPD if you have any information.