More than five hours of newly released video footage from police body cameras shows a tense standoff in September between the University of Missouri’s Legion of Black Collegians and members of the Delta Upsilon fraternity. The video, blurred to protect students’ privacy, shows black students swearing at fraternity members and, in at least one instance, threatening them with violence.
The incident began Sept. 27, when two LBC members said a drunken woman called them the N-word near predominantly white Delta Upsilon. Several frat members then reportedly opened their windows, played music, and otherwise provoked the Legion of Black Collegians. A confrontation between DU members and black students ensued.
The police arrived, bodycams rolling, when the confrontation was well underway. The LBC said fraternity members yelled racial slurs at them; the bodycam footage recorded no such epithets by the DU brothers, but it does show black students yelling at fraternity members.
“I’m not being peaceful no more,” the bodycam footage shows one student saying. “I’m not going to sit here and cry. …. I’m going to beat your a**. It’s not going to help, but I’m going to feel a whole lot better while I’m smacking the f*ck out of some ignorant white boy.”
The bodycam footage shows another black student saying: “They’ve got freedom of speech to say N*****? I’ve got the freedom of speech to say f*ck your fraternity for mother*cking mouth.”
Another student recorded by police’s bodycams said: “F*ck America. F*ck this broken-ass country.”
By deadline, the Legion of Black Collegians did not respond to Heat Street’s emailed questions.
Cops said at least one LBC student trespassed on fraternity property, adding that they also heard black students yelling “f*cking cracker” and “f*cking redneck” at fraternity members, according to the police reports released on Sept. 29.
“While trying to keep the [fraternity members and black students] apart, people inside the Delta Upsilon house began shouting out of the windows, which further angered several people in the crowd,” wrote officer Jacob Clifford in a police report.
As one of the fraternity members says in the bodycam video, Mizzou’s Delta Upsilon chapter did “not have a good semester.”
On at least five occasions during fall semester, the Mizzou chapter held parties that the Delta Upsilon International Fraternity Board of Directors said violated the fraternity’s rules, University policy or state law.
And in October, the Columbia Tribune reviewed public records suggesting the fraternity may have distributed date-rape drugs to its members, an allegation DU has vehemently denied.
“Active members of the Delta Upsilon fraternity allegedly provided each new member with three pills and instructed them to drug women for the purpose of incapacitating them prior to engaging in sexual activity,” the University’s Title IX officer wrote.
The fraternity’s international board of directors suspended Mizzou’s DU chapter on Nov. 19. By deadline, none of the Mizzou chapters’ listed contacts had responded to a request for comment, and the Delta Upsilon International Fraternity declined to discuss the police bodycam videos with Heat Street.
The decision to suspend Mizzou’s DU chapter was not prompted by either the Sept. 27 incident involving the Legion of Black Collegians or the roofie allegations, which Delta Upsilon International said in a statement were “unsubstantiated claims… which have been refuted by the International Fraternity.”
After the Sept. 27 incident, LBC members met with the interim chancellor and MU police department, also holding meetings with fraternity members “to discuss specific steps and actions that both organizations could take to educate themselves and the larger community,” the University of Missouri said in an emailed statement.
“The university is very proud of how the community responded to this incident as the Legion of Black Collegians led an effort to bring the groups together and build a stronger Mizzou community,” the University’s statement said. “Since the incident in September, our students, administrative and staff leaders have met to discuss the incident and how we can improve relationships throughout our campus.”
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.