Newly released body camera video and 911 dispatch recordings are giving a new perspective on how police responded to a convenience store clerk who wanted officers to remove a black man from the store.
The incident happened last Friday, Aug. 3, at the Santa Fe Allsup’s store on Cerrillos Road near St. Francis.
A 22-year-old Xavier University student from New Orleans, Jordan McDowell, recorded cell phone video of a clerk calling 911, saying she wanted McDowell “out of the store” because he was “being arrogant” and “he’s black.”
“The first thing that popped in my mind absolutely was just discrimination,” said McDowell, who interviewed with KRQE News 13 about the incident on Tuesday.
McDowell had been visiting Santa Fe for two weeks with a group of fellow university students who were studying Native American culture.
Around 8 p.m., McDowell says he went to the Allsup’s for snacks. After buying a bag of Sour Patch Kids, McDowell says he continued to browse the store looking for more candy when a store clerk began watching him.
“She said the comment of, ‘you’re looking sneaky and suspicious, you know, you’re picking things up, you’re putting things down,”’ said McDowell.
KRQE News 13 obtained a copy of the 911 call the clerk made to Santa Fe County dispatchers.
The clerk initially asked for an officer to be sent to the store because of an “arrogant kid.”
“I have an arrogant kid inside the store that, you know … because he’s walking the store and walking the store and we’re keeping an eye on him, now he thinks that we are being racist … and I want him out of the store right now,” said the clerk to the 911 dispatcher.
The dispatcher asked, “what exactly is he doing?”
That’s when the clerk said, “because he’s being arrogant because he’s black.”
The clerk said McDowell was not intoxicated and that she didn’t think McDowell had weapons.
The dispatcher asked the clerk, “you just want him removed because he’s waking in the store?”
The clerk responded, “Yes, I want him out of the store, he got what he came to get, so I want him out of the store.”
The call ended with the dispatcher saying they would get an officer to the store, however, that was not exactly true.
Shortly after the call, the dispatcher contacted a Santa Fe Police sergeant.
“This disorderly at 650 Cerrillos at the Allsup’s, we have a 41 that called in, stating that there was a black male at the location. Um, he wasn’t doing anything, he just walking by, are we going to go out for that?” said the dispatcher to the SFPD sergeant.
“Uh, no ma’am,” said the SFPD sergeant.
While SFPD closed the call, an officer still ended up at the Allsup’s. On the officer’s body camera recording, the officer tells McDowell he only stopped because McDowell waved him over. McDowell was unaware that police had canceled their response to the 911 call until the officer told him.
“Usually there’s a bunch of people here drunk, causing problems so I usually come by and check it out anyways,” said the officer. “I was just coming through and you came to talk to me.”
After initially speaking with McDowell, the officer also spoke to the clerk. She told the officer that she was watching McDowell like anyone else.
“You know, I’m gonna keep an eye on him because, that’s my job and he’s not the only one that I do that s*** to, because you see all the Natives that walk in here, the drunks or whoever,” said the clerk.
The officer told the clerk he didn’t have probable cause and wasn’t going to take any enforcement action.
After leaving the clerk, the officer spoke to McDowell again, telling McDowell as well that he was not there to investigate.
“Yeah, we operate off a thing called the Constitution and reasonable suspicion, probable cause, and the Fourth Amendment,” said the officer.
Santa Fe Police told KRQE News 13 that it reviewed that video and believes their officer handled the situation appropriately.
The woman who made the comments refused KRQE News 13’s request for an interview earlier this week.
KRQE News 13 has also learned that the Santa Fe mayor and police chief were hoping to reach out to McDowell this week to apologize on behalf of the city.