Arrested GMU Student Accuses University Police of Harassment

10:02 AM, Mar 16, 2011   |    comments
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FAIRFAX, Va. (WUSA) -- One week ago, 25-year-old Abdirashid Dahir was just an average senior studying for exams at George Mason University. Since then, Dahir has been arrested on felony abduction charges and jailed for 17 hours. He lost his job as a resident advisor and has been kicked out of student housing.

9NEWS NOW caught up with him on Tuesday outside a friend's apartment, where he's crashing on the couch, to find out how he got there.

"It all started on March 8th when I went to the library to do some research," said Dahir.

FOLLOW UP: GMU Drops Charges Against Student Abdirashid Dahir

Dahir finally found a free study room in a packed Fenwick Library, but he soon realized he forgot his laptop charger and ran back to his dorm room to get it. Dahir says he was only gone seven minutes, but when he came back a female student had taken over the study room.

"She just took it over. I expressed how I didn't think that was right and I said let's share the room."

Instead of sharing the room, the female student called University Police. Dahir says he immediately opened the door to the study room because he sensed trouble, but the female student called police a second time and said he had locked her in.

"She was saying how I should go back to my country," said Dahir who is from Somalia. "She was really expressing huge hate for foreigners."

When university police arrived, Dahir alleges they never even listened to his side of the story. Instead, they kicked him out of Fenwick Library. Dahir then filed a complaint at the university police station, and it was there that he was cited for trespassing.

"I was like, 'You got to be kidding me. For what?'" said Dahir.

Roughly five hours after the incident at the library, Dahir says he attempted to start studying again at his dorm. That's when the same university police officers came back and arrested him

"The charge is abduction. That's a felony charge. And nothing like that happened in the library. I was not a threat," said Dahir.

Thousands of Dahir's fellow students are now flocking to his defense on Facebook. They claim the female student has committed a hate crime and that Dahir has been harassed by police. Dahir could now face serious jail time. But if he gets off, Dahir says his future is now in focus.

"I've always wanted to be a lawyer and going through this injustice makes me want to be a lawyer even more," said Dahir.

The female student involved in the incident could not be reached for comment, and both George Mason University officials and university police declined to be interviewed for this story. However, the university did release the following statement:

"The investigation by the university police department and the Judicial Affairs office made significant progress today (Tuesday), but is still ongoing.  The response and outpouring of concern for both students involved in this incident from our students, alumni, faculty and staff are a validation of Mason's commitment to fostering a campus community where respect for all is the hallmark. University officials wish to thank those who took the time to contact us. When we have further information we will make it public, as is appropriate, and will make every attempt to respond to those who provided contact information."

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