A Bowie State University police officer is on paid leave after a video surfaced on Twitter that appeared to show the officer pull a student by her clothing and drag her down a flight of stairs.
Dr. Aminta Breaux, the school's president, called the report "deeply disturbing" and said she's working to figure out what happened.
By the school's account, officers were called for noise complaints and found about 50 students playing music. The school says one student became aggressive and officers detained him. At that point, the school says, a second student started following an officer, and he pulled her down the stairs.
Freshman Trinity Cephas said she has friends who saw the incident in person.
"I was shocked that it was happening here," Cephas said of the alleged excessive use of force. She told News4 she never thought police brutality would be an issue at a historically Black college. She said she feels the officer could have handled things differently.
"With you being in a position, with you wearing the uniform, with you supposedly having the training, you’re supposed to know how to de-escalate the situation," she said.
The school said they’re offering students mental health counseling, forums on social justice, and programs that encourage dialogue between students and police.
Bowie State's Police Chief Col. Ernest Waiters said, "I am committed to ensuring that all personnel are properly trained on appropriate de-escalation and community policing techniques."
Bowie State said its officers do not wear body cameras, and they are not naming that officer because of the ongoing investigation. Maryland State Police are conducting an independent investigation as well.
No one was hurt in the incident, and no students were charged.