Students call for transparency after University of North Texas police arrest on video

Screengrab from video
·3 min read

Some students at the University of North Texas in Denton are calling for transparency after video of a man’s arrest on campus circulated widely on social media Thursday.

The video posted on Twitter amassed more than 200,000 views and thousands of retweets, likes and comments after a student posted it Wednesday afternoon. University police replied to the tweet with a statement saying police were called because the man was causing a disturbance at an event inside the UNT union building.

“Officers talked to the individual and asked him to leave the event,” the university police department’s statement said. “The individual continued to create a disturbance and was arrested related to this. No force was used related to this arrest.”

Police haven’t released his name.

In the video, which starts outside the building, the student filming asks the officers repeatedly why the man is under arrest. Police do not respond. The man, who is handcuffed, tells the student that he gave officers his student ID and that he is registered, but they were not listening to him.

“I am a student, they keep trying to tell me I’m not a student,” the man says in the video as police search his pockets.

In the video, the man says he was trying to attend a job fair inside the UNT union building, and the event organizers confirmed to police that he was a student.

“I asked you to talk to the president of my school,” he says to an officer. “I said I was going to talk to my president, and you told me I can’t. You didn’t even talk to the people who registered the event.”

The man says in the video he took classes last semester and is still registered as a student but has not taken classes this semester.

After several minutes, police escort the man to the back of a police car.

The university confirmed to the Star-Telegram the man was enrolled in classes in fall 2021 but isn’t in 2022.

A university spokesman said the man was arrested and booked into the Denton County Jail on suspicion of criminal trespass and disrupting a meeting. The case will be filed soon with the Denton County DA’s Office, the spokesman said.

The demand for transparency from police comes amid a year of political controversy and clashes at the university. On Thursday, fliers were posted around campus about the arrest.

“UNTPD arrested an innocent Black student in front of the student union,” the flier says in bold, black letters.

The flier says that while “fascists, armed white supremacists and homophobic ‘preachers’ are allowed to come to our ‘open campus,’ a Black man has been arrested for being Black in public.”

In March, the campus’ Young Conservatives of Texas chapter invited anti-trans political candidate Jeff Younger to speak at an event, resulting in protests. In May, students and attendees at the Young Conservatives of Texas’ final meeting of the year clashed again, the Denton Record-Chronicle reported.

The flier also mentions the 2020 shooting of Darius Tarver. Denton police shot and killed the UNT student, who was Black, on Jan. 21, 2020, outside a student apartment complex. Authorities said Tarver held a frying pan and meat cleaver in his hands, did not obey commands and charged at officers after being tased.

Tarver’s father, Kevin Tarver, told the Star-Telegram after the shooting that his son was having a mental health crisis and police should have de-escalated the situation and helped him instead of using deadly force.