HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — UAH President Darren Dawson met with, and apologized to Caleb Crutcher and his parents on Monday following an Oct. 3 incident during which Crutcher was wrongfully pulled over by campus police.
During the meeting Chanda Crutcher watched UAH Police body cam footage of the incident, which has not been released to the public. “All I could think of is what happens, if now my son, who you bullied, intimidated, and now you’ve taken him in the dark, what if he had thought that I will go home alive, I have better chances of going home alive, if I run, then if I stay here in the dark, with these two men, one of whom has proven that he doesn’t have my best interest at heart. They would have shot my baby,” said Crutcher.
Chanda Crutcher says the UAH police officer, parked out of jurisdiction, tailed her son, Caleb, from his job at Top Golf in Huntsville, for a mile and a half, to Sparkman Drive, where Caleb finally crossed into UAH’s campus, and was pulled over.
Despte the incident, Chanda Crutcher applauded UAH’s president for meeting with her and taking some initial positive steps.
“I respect Dr. Dawson, I appreciate his leadership, he’s done more than most would have done in this instance, but I think now we have an opportunity to really put things in place to make sure this doesn’t take place,” said Crutcher.
The university released a second statement regarding the incident on Monday included in full below.
Today members of my senior administrative team and I met with the young driver involved in the October 3 traffic stop and his parents. We informed the family that this incident has been investigated and corrective actions have been taken. We again apologized for the incident and had a meaningful and productive conversation about how we will improve our service to the
UAH and Huntsville communities.
Our action plan includes:From UAH President Darren Dawson
• We are reviewing UAHPD policies and procedures to ensure they align with best practices.
• We will increase awareness of channels to report concerns (UAHPD Citizen Complaint
Form, Ethics Hotline and Charger 360).
• We will form a committee of campus partners to review the practices, policies and procedures
of the UAHPD, and make recommendations where appropriate. Laterrica Shelton, Vice
President for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, has been selected to chair this committee.
• UAHPD will undergo additional training.
Together we will work diligently to strengthen our community relationships and ensure all members ofour community are treated fairly, equitably, and with understanding
The incident began garnering widespread attention after Chanda Crutcher posted on Facebook that a UAH officer pulled Caleb over near the campus for a minor traffic violation on Oct. 3. Despite not being cited for anything and doing nothing suspicious, his mother said, the officer searched Caleb and his vehicle and was asked repeatedly if he was high on weed or crack. She said police video she viewed also showed police asking if he had “dead prostitutes in the car.”
Speaking to News 19 on Monday Chanda Crutcher added that in the body cam footage, the officer who pulled her son over, also allegedly claimed her son had been driving irratically, considered him “sketchy” after observing him rub his hair while driving, and that he had cracked tail light, which still worked. The mother says her son was simply rubbing out the hat hair he had experienced from working that evening at Top Golf in Huntsville, and as for the cracked tail late, she said she reached out to a state trooper for guidance.
“As long as you have one operable tail light, that, that shouldn’t warrant a traffic stop,” Crutcher said she was told by the state trooper. “It just had what the captain described, she said it had a white showing through, a sliver of white.”
Since Chanda Crutcher’s post on Facebook, UAH students and the campus NAACP chapter have called for more transparency and accountability from the campus police department.
News 19 has asked UAH Police for access to its body cam footbage and repeatedly asked the University for an on-camera interview. All of our requests have been denied.