Brent Ahlers, a 25-year-old target, was patrolling at St. Catherine's University in Minnesota, like every night, when his gun fired a bullet at his shoulder. The security guard, bloodied by the wound, told The local police that a black man with "afro" hair and a blue sweater had attacked him. It was a lie.
It all points to an accident. But Ahlers, for fear of losing his job, which did not allow him to carry a weapon, invented the identity of a supposed aggressor. It happened at 9:30 on Wednesday night. After alerting the authorities of the municipality of St. Paul, the police closed the university complex and tracked the perimeter with 55 agents, canine units and even helicopters. Meanwhile, Ahler was recovering in a nearby hospital. That same night he got the discharge.
Dozens of neighbors and 1,800 students were waiting in their homes as the investigation of the facts continued. A supposed African-American was wanted. The next morning, a police tweet announced that there was no threat. Ahler had confessed.
"I was nervous about losing his job after he took his gun with him, so he invented the story to hide what had happened," said Mike Ernster, a police spokesman. They arrested Ahler and entered jail for having invented a crime. According to the local newspaper Star Tribune, the young man was released on Thursday and will appear before a judge on 31 October. Ernster added that from the first moment the agents doubted the reliability of the testimony of Ahlers.
The false accusation has generated controversy among leaders of the black community. "It's a sick thing." He put the lives of young black people at risk with his lie, "said Tyrone Terrill, the president of the African-American Council of St. Paul. The President of the Office of the National Association of African Americans (NAACP) stated that the invention of Ahlers is a direct reflection of the racism that is perpetuated in the United States for hundreds of years. "That's how black people live." We have been lynched, they have put us in prisons so that later it is discovered that we have not done anything. That's the sad thing, "he said."
The president of the university announced the dismissal of Ahlers and condemned what happened, saying that the institution rejects stereotypes and racial discrimination.