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Arrest of former UR student and video sparks debate on social media

May 28, 2018

Credit www.facebook.com/ben.feldsott

There’s a controversy on social media over the arrest of a former University of Rochester student.

It was sparked by a cell phone video of the man, Mohammed Rifat, being taken into custody by a UR Public Safety officer.

On Facebook, a friend of Rifat’s said that he was upset because Rifat was arrested just because he was on campus without currently taking summer courses.

While a number of people posting on that thread also expressed outrage, some others defended the actions of the officer.

At one point, the officer tells the person taking the video that while it’s not illegal to take video, the person holding the cell phone camera was obstructing his investigation and the officer told him he would get arrested for obstruction if he didn’t leave, and the man taking the video then turned off his camera.

The University of Rochester released this statement:

"On Saturday evening, the University of Rochester Department of Public Safety arrested Mohammed Rifat for trespassing. Mr. Rifat is a former student who is not enrolled at the University. After being found to have gained unauthorized access to various buildings on campus in the last few weeks, his University ID was confiscated and he was warned to stay away from campus or be subject to arrest.

A member of the College staff met with Mr. Rifat last week to offer assistance, and the University will continue to try to provide support to him. The University is committed to respectful engagement with campus visitors and members of our campus community, and will conduct a review of DPS actions and the circumstances of the arrest."