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Tallahassee Police are investigating an incident in which four Black Florida A&M University students had a gun pulled on them by a white man at an apartment complex for off-campus student housing.
The man, identified as Don Crandall, told the students they weren’t allowed to get into the apartment complex, nor ride the elevator with him, according to a video of the incident that has gone viral. Crandall has since been fired from his job as a hotel general manager.
According to BuzzFeed News, Isaiah Butterfield and his three friends, Fitzroy Rhoden, Stephen Brooks, Joshua Cosby—all juniors at FAMU, a historically Black college—were going to a friend’s apartment at the Stadium Centre apartment complex on Saturday for a party. While in the parking garage, waiting for the friend, Zavian Flowers, to let them in, Crandall walked past them and told them they couldn’t come in.
“Then he turned and he said, ‘You aren’t getting in here if you don’t have a key,’” Butterfield told the publication. “We were shook because we hadn’t said anything to him. We were just standing there and then he closed the door and locked it.”
Butterfield said that moments later, Crandall came back and began harassing them. Another random white man, who Butterfield said was “Chad,” saw the interaction and began confronting Crandall for the students.
In a video Butterfield later posted to Twitter, Chad and Crandall are in a verbal argument as the students watch on.
“You’re not just man enough to go about your day… We’re just here chilling, you just want to run your mouth,” Chad says.
“Look, limp dick, don’t fucking walk into a conversation that’s none of your—” Crandall says.
“Where are you going?” Chad asks.
“Where am I going? I am going upstairs to get laid, what are you doing, limp dick?” Crandall replies.
Crandall then walks inside the building toward the elevator and tells the other men to find their own, because that’s “[his] elevator.” Another student challenges him, saying, “If you own the building, let me know.” Crandall again repeats that they’re not getting in the elevator, and says they don’t belong and don’t have a key. After Chad shows that he has a key, Crandall says, “You think I’m fucking kidding?”
Crandall then pulls out a gun and holds it in a fist, his cellphone in his other hand. He then shows the other men his key.
“Are you a police officer? Sir, you bring out your gun? What’s your purpose of that?” asks Rhoden.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Excuse me. Forgive me,” Crandall says.
The men then back up from the elevator as Crandall puts the gun into his back pocket. Flowers then appeared to take his friends up to his apartment.
On Twitter, Butterfield’s video has garnered more than 300,000 views and has been shared more than 6,000 times. Many have responded in relief that the men weren’t physically harmed in the altercation.
Im so sorry yall had to experience this though. All of yall.. Thank God yall are okay. “Stand your ground” law does not work for black people.— Denver (@D3NVUR) September 8, 2018
Only reason they ain’t get shot was cause there was a white kid with them. Only reason. Go debate your Confederate flag.— jf (@voodoochld) September 9, 2018
Literally y’all are covered in the blood of Jesus. I’m glad y’all okay and I continue to pray for my friends and this world that we live in.— E.T. (@_etyler) September 8, 2018
Tallahassee Police told BuzzFeed News that the students called them before 2p.m. the next day to file a police report. They’re currently investigating, and Florida A&M University is looking into the incident. Stadium Centre’s management told the publication that it’s cooperating with police, and that “firearms are prohibited on [the] property.” Stadium Centre messaged residents as well, stating that Crandall is not a resident.
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On a Facebook event titled “Arrest and Fire Don Crandall!” an account for his employer, Baymont by Wyndham Tallahassee Central, announced that Crandall had been fired as general manager.
“This afternoon we, Pax Hotel Group, were informed of an incident that involved our General Manager of The Baymont by Wyndham of Tallahassee Central. Pax Hotel Group believes in bringing up and adding to the communities we are apart [sic] of. Our team has gone ahead and took the actions that were necessary to uphold our beliefs,” the statement reads.
“While at work or out in our every day lives we expect our employees to have this core value [to treat others the way you would like to be treated] in mind, we would like to apologize to those affected by the actions of our former employee,” the statement concluded.
A front desk staff member at the Baymont by Wyndham Tallahassee Central confirmed with the Daily Dot that Crandall is no longer an employee of the hotel.
Butterfield said that he’s stunned, though not surprised, that Crandall pulled a gun on them “for no reason whatsoever.”
“People fly Confederate flags here and there are people who say off-the-wall stuff all the time because they feel that they can,” Butterfield said.
H/T BuzzFeed News
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.