Former Northeastern Deputy Athletic Director for External Affairs Tim Duncan released a video Monday saying that he was walking with his wife in Newton when they were stopped by four police cars and six police officers with guns drawn. The incident occurred five days before a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd, whose death has sparked protests across the country.
Duncan, the current athletic director at the University of New Orleans, is a resident of Newton and said that he was a block from his home when he was stopped by the police.
The Newton Police Department said in a statement to The Heights that, on May 18, it received information from the Boston Police Department that a suspect in a fatal shooting in Boston had ties to a person living at an address in Newton. Duncan was close to the address being surveilled by the Newton Police and fit the physical description of the suspect, according to the statement.
“It’s not okay that just because I am a tall Black man walking one block from my house, that I’m pulled over and say that I fit a profile of a murder suspect just because he was tall,” Duncan said in the video.
Duncan said that having guns drawn on him while he was walking with his wife was uncalled for.
“And it’s uncalled for that George Floyd had a knee on his neck for eight minutes and, I think, 46 seconds,” Duncan said. “It’s uncalled for that Ahmaud Arbery was running through a neighborhood—I’m a runner, I run through neighborhoods all the time—and someone hunted him down and killed him.”
Duncan said he wanted to take the time to speak to his student-athletes before making a statement. He said that this is institutional racism that needs to be fought against.
The statement from the Newton Police said that the Newton Police stopped Duncan and asked for identification, and Duncan said he did not feel safe reaching for his wallet. An officer checked his identification and verified that he was not the suspect. Three minutes after police stopped Duncan, he continued on his walk.
“In this case, Newton Police Officers reasonably assumed, based on physical description and the location of where he was, that Mr. Duncan was potentially the suspect wanted in the Boston fatal shooting,” the Newton Police Department said.
The suspect in the fatal shooting was taken into custody on May 21.
“Chief David MacDonald and the Newton Police Department are committed to the mission of the Newton Police Department which focuses on respect for each and every individual, treating all people with dignity, and partnering closely with our community in our operational philosophy of Community Policing/Community Engagement,” the Newton Police Department said in the statement.
Featured Image by Keara Hanlon/for The Heights