Folasade Aremu, a freshman economics major, holds a photograph during a sit in on the campus of USC on May 6. (Don Bartletti /Los Angeles Times)

Folasade Aremu, a freshman economics major, holds a photograph during a sit in on the campus of USC on May 6. (Don Bartletti /Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Police Department is under fire for allegedly profiling University of Southern California students of color at a house party. YouTube footage shows 79 police officers descending on an off-campus gathering thrown by black students to celebrate the end of the semester.

Officers cited noise violations as their reason for coming to the residence, but mayhem ensued when the police arrived. Six USC students were cuffed and one LAPD officer was hospitalized with minor injuries.

The incident rouses the race and racism conversation at USC, so the LAPD is quelling the tension with an internal investigation.

LAPD Lt. Andy Neiman, a department spokesman, confirmed the investigation to NBC 4 in Los Angeles.

“We will investigate those complaints vigorously,” he said. “If there is a perception that something was done out of the ordinary or a perception of biased policing, we certainly want to address those concerns right away.”

Students present at the party recount intimidation and excessive forced used against them.

Nate Howard, a USC senior, alleges he was handcuffed and put in a squad car after asking officers what the problem was.

“There was no reason for me to be handcuffed, pushed the way I was,” he said. “We were just having a good time.”

Another student, Ola Bayode, claims six officers grabbed him and threw him to the floor. He was also cuffed and removed from the party.

“Yeah, I resisted a little bit,” he said. “I was just taken aback by their aggressive manner.”

The LAPD arrived at the 23rd and Hoover streets residence at 2 a.m.

Howard claims the police were responding to a party hosted by white students on the same block, but told those students to remain “inside the house and stay safe” while they approached the party hosted by black students.

Howard was one of the organizers of the finals week celebration and alleges he had a permit to host the party.

Michael Jackson, the vice president of student affairs USC, told NBC4 the college is working with students and law enforcement to reach a plausible resolution.

“We understand their concern and are working closely with them, and commit ourselves to doing all we can to ensure respectful treatment of students at peaceful social gatherings,” he said.

More than 100 students gathered at the campus’ Tommy Trojan statue to protest their treatment at the party. Some held signs reading “Stop Criminalizing Us” while others chanted “Create your own world.”

The college has also organized a May 7 community meeting to discuss the incident and explore possible solutions.

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  • Anthony

    I heard a story on NPR this morning. The LAPD sent a community relations officer, who I believe is black, to the campus to smooth things over. The jackass said that their investigation showed no racial bias, and that the police responded the way they did because “they felt threatened.” The problem for the police is that the event happened in front of white students who were partying nearby who saw how their fellow students were treated. They showed up and called out the obvious double standard in how the black students were treated.

    This is one case where the “felt threatened”
    dog ain’t gonna hunt. Frankly, there is nothing more pathetic than to hear that a group of heavily armed law enforcement professionals claimed fear in the face of unarmed students. If black people scare them that much, they need to work in Wyoming or Manitoba. Better yet, they to turn in their guns, and work at a job where innocent people of any color won’t suffer because of their fear.

  • Mademoiselle

    That line of police looked eerily similar to all the civil rights moves I’ve seen just before the water hoses and dogs are brought out. And to think that right behind that line a white party was going on that received nowhere near the same amount of attention. Makes it hard to remember it’s 2013.

  • Just saying

    It’s just crazy how EVERY weekend, the white parties go on and have police on that row to ‘protect’ them and when black people have the few parties they have, police are there in fear?

    When in doubt, ask for your fireman to come because clearly policemen are scared of unarmed students.