Track star looks for justice

Mock News Story

By Lilly Glenister, Pro For a Day 

REDLANDS – A Redlands State University student and his family have filed a lawsuit against the school after the student was detained by campus police late Friday evening.

Jason Donaldson, a 21-year-old black man and runner for the university’s track and field team, was part of a news conference Nov. 5 where his family’s lawyer announced that they would be asking for damages from the university for discrimination and mental anguish.

The family has not specified the amount of money they’re seeking in the suit.

Donaldson’s arrest has now propelled Redlands State into an going conversation about police brutality and race relations in the U.S.

“I’m just tired of seeing people who look just like me get discriminated against,” Donaldson said.

Donaldson said he now suffers from lower back pain after being pinned to the ground by officers and worries about losing his track and field scholarship.

Seven police officers from campus police were dispatched to Donaldson’s dorm room.

After a night of celebrating a win with his teammates, Donaldson said he came back to his dorm room and realized he left his identification and keys with his roommate.

He said he tried to break into his room so he could get to an assignment he had to finish the next day.

In the midst of trying to get into his room, a woman in a nearby dorm hall called 9-1-1, reporting suspicious activity.

Pervis Donaldson, the student’s father, said that his son was just doing what any other person would have done.

“My son is a good kid and was treated like a criminal,” Donaldson said. “He’s a straight-A student and just wanted to get into his room to do his work.”

Donaldson, who has a history of congestive heart failure, collapsed at the conference and attributed it to being overwhelmed by his son’s arrest.

Police Chief Cheef said authorities received a call about suspicious activity near Ratchet Dorm Hall.

“Officers at the scene said that the suspect was belligerent and (they) proceeded to handle the situation accordingly,” Carter said.

The Donaldson’s lawyer, Laura Allred, said that the university has not responded to their questions about the incident.

Authorities said no charges have been filed against Donaldson.
“Our department apologizes for the misunderstanding that has happened,” Cheef said.

Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement were at the news conference in support of the Donaldson family and began chanting “Justice for Jason” during Cheef’s time at the podium.

Marion Michelle Jenkins, a local Redlands activist, said supporters will march Saturday afternoon on campus in solidarity with Donaldson.

“This isn’t a message that goes down easy,” Jenkins said. “We need to make them realize that there is racial divide at this university.”


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