Remember those students from Queens who were returning from a college visit when they were pulled over, searched, and cuffed by New Jersey state police officers—sparking allegations of racial profiling and excessive force? Cops denied that the students' skin color had anything to do with the Jersey Turnpike traffic stop, insisting that they only pulled over the van because they received a 911 call warning them that van passengers were carrying guns. Well, it turns out one of the students in the van made that 911 call, according to officials.
The Star-Ledger reports that police arrested 19-year-old St. Albans resident Rodney Tanzymore today and charged him with creating a false public alarm for making the Nov. 21 call under the pseudonym David Smith. The paper has audio of the 911 call, which Tanzymore allegedly made while the van was parked at a rest stop. A man identified as Tanzymore states: "Three men just hopped out of a black truck with, uh, guns ... It's a Mercedes Benz. It's like a van, like a passenger van," before giving the license plate number and describing the clothing of the armed men.
It's unclear if the other students or chaperones knew that Tanzymore was making the 911 call. Minutes later, about 10 police cars and a police helicopter responded to the call and pulled over the van. Officers with their rifles drawn ordered the students and chaperones to exit the vehicle one at a time with their hands up. They were released an hour later without charges or apologies. The New Jersey state police came under fire for the incident, especially because the force "had just emerged from 10 years of federal oversight design to stop racial profiling during motor vehicle stops," according to the paper.
Here's a video of the traffic stop: