SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) - A college student visiting from out of state says he was racially profiled by a Santa Fe convenience store clerk who called police, calling the student “arrogant" and "black."
“There's nothing right about this, there's nothing right to call the police on someone just because of their skin tone," said Jordan McDowell, a 22-year old Xavier University student who’s spent the last week visiting Santa Fe.
Last Friday, McDowell went inside the Santa Fe Allsup's on Cerrillos Road near St. Francis Drive when he says a store employee called the police on him after he bought candy.
“The first thing that popped in my mind absolutely was just discrimination,” said McDowell.
McDowell recorded part of the exchange on cell phone video. While speaking on the phone, the employee can be heard saying, “And I want him out of the store right now,” as she is presumably speaking to a 911 dispatcher.
After a four-second pause, the employee can be heard saying “because he's being arrogant, because he's black."
“In that moment, the only thing I felt at that small moment was rage," said McDowell. “But at the same time too I understood that racism in America never truly died.”
McDowell says he went inside the convenience store about 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3. The employee called police after McDowell says he bought a package of Sour Patch Kids from the store.
After McDowell paid for the candy, he says he continued to look around the store for other items to purchase. That's when he says he noticed something.
"She had been in the corner the whole time watching," said McDowell while watching a copy of his video, speaking of the employee who called the police.
In his video recording of the incident, McDowell says, “they said I was sketchy because I picked stuff up, put stuff back.”
KRQE News 13 has learned that Santa Fe Police were dispatched to the call, which was listed as “disorderly conduct.” It’s unclear if a police report was written in the case.
Once police arrived, McDowell says he and the employee spoke to the officer. McDowell says the officer didn’t ask to see his ID and acknowledge that he didn’t do anything wrong.
KRQE News 13 spoke to the employee seen in McDowell’s video at the store Tuesday. The employee denied speaking of McDowell’s race. After KRQE News 13 showed the employee the video clip, she continued to deny speaking of McDowell’s race, then refused to speak any further about the incident.
KRQE News 13 attempted to contact Allsup’s corporate offices Tuesday seeking comment about the situation and the video. A phone message and multiple emails were not returned.
A pre-med Xavier University senior, McDowell says he’s been in Santa Fe for the last two weeks with five other students who are studying Native American culture as part of a summer class.
“This was our first time down here,” said McDowell. “I explored the native lands, I loved it, I enjoyed it, I enjoyed the feasts, seeing the dances, everything of that nature.”
McDowell, whose goal is to become a surgeon, says he doesn’t harbor bad feelings towards his experience in New Mexico.
“My job will be to always help people no matter what, no matter what the cost no matter what the situation,” said McDowell.
However, he says he wants others to know what happened to him in Santa Fe and encourages others to speak out about their own experiences.
“I just want everyone to know you still have a voice, you can speak up, you still can do your part and that's what I’m going to continue to do,” said McDowell.
While Allsup’s corporate offices did not return KRQE News 13’s request for comment Tuesday, a man who identified himself as a store manager called the employee’s behavior unacceptable.