Man pepper sprayed and arrested on West Campus quadrangleRETRACTION: Earlier The Chronicle erroneously reported that the man was tased. He was not tased, only pepper sprayed. The Chronicle sincerely regrets the error.
A Durham resident was pepper-sprayed and arrested on the West Campus bus stop Monday evening after allegedly stealing a backpack from Bostock Library. He was charged with felony larceny, second-degree trespass and resist, obstruct and delay officers.
The suspect, Jeffrey Alan Velez, is not a student and is currently being held at Durham County jail at $5,000 bond. Velez, 20, has previously trespassed on campus, said Vice President for Administration Kyle Cavanaugh. Velez was originally reported as wearing a Last Day of Classes wristband, however it is unclear at this time whether the green wristband in question was an LDOC wristband.
A video taken by a witness shows the man was forced to the ground by five police officers. He was then pepper sprayed. Some bystanders said they saw the man being tased, but Cavanaugh said that this was not the case and the officers were not carrying tasers at the time of arrest.
“I was just documenting,” said freshman Gilbert Brooks, who took the video. “I just want to make sure proper protocol is being followed.”
Junior Alexa Frink said she noticed her backpack had been stolen and went to report the incident with a student who had seen the alleged perpetrator.
“I was studying in the library, and I got up to go to the bathroom and fill up my water bottle,” Frink said. “I had left my computer closed with my bag under the table, but when I came back, it was gone.”
After Frink reported the incident with another student, police identified someone who fit the description boarding a bus at the West Campus bus stop. The suspect had the backpack in his possession and refused to exit the bus when asked by officers, Cavanaugh said. He was then escorted off the bus.
This article was updated 11:58 p.m. Monday.
Emma Baccellieri and Anna Koelsch contributed reporting.
Correction: A previous version of this article reported that the suspect was a student. He is not a student. The Chronicle regrets the error.