Two men rob Uptown business, TUPD issues crime alert with disclaimer about racial descriptions

Armando Marin, Online News Editor

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At approximately 5 a.m. Wednesday, two men robbed a business on the corner of Calhoun Street and South Claiborne Avenue, according to a Tulane University Police Department crime alert issued at around 4 p.m. Wednesday.

The alert states that the cashier was robbed by two black men, the first of which was armed with a semi-automatic handgun. The men fled the store toward South Claiborne Avenue and then in an unknown direction.

The armed man is described as 6-feet tall, 165 pounds, having short dreadlocks and wearing all black clothing, a hoodie and a sky blue bandana. The second man is described as 5-foot-10, between 165 and 175 pounds and wearing black clothing, a black-and-white shirt, black gloves and a black-and-white bandana over his face.

This is the first crime alert issued by TUPD which has a disclaimer at the bottom, advising readers to be cautious about racial descriptions. This is a result of an initiative begun by Undergraduate Student Government last semester, in which members expressed concern about how racial descriptions can be misconstrued. Members of USG discussed the issue with Superintendent Jon Barnwell throughout the process and agreed upon the wording of the disclaimer in legislation passed in a USG meeting on Dec. 2.

“Information about the race or ethnicity of alleged offenders is provided only to aid detailed descriptions that include physical stature, clothing or unusual characteristics,” the disclaimer states. “Racial descriptions do not, by themselves, offer a meaningful picture of an individual’s appearance.”