UNR President: “Appropriate Steps Taken” After Controversial Police Traffic Stop

UNR Police StopThe University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) today issued a statement from President Marc Johnson announcing the conclusion of an investigation into a controversial traffic stop made by UNR police.

UNR originally posted body-cam footage on Youtube of the stop in September from one of its officers, later identified in the news media as Sgt. Dan Johnston, pulling over a group of students.

One of the students, identified as graduate student Kevin McReynolds, complained to UNR after an officer at the scene, identified as Adam Wilson, jokingly threatened to shoot McReynolds due to his size “if this goes sideways.”

UNR later deleted the video without explanation. When asked about removing the video, campus spokesperson Natalie Fry directed ThisisReno to file a public records request for the video.

UNR then redacted the faces and identifications of everyone in the video.

The redactions implied that UNR violated federal student privacy laws and a state law — NRS 289.025 — prohibiting the release of a photograph of a peace officer without the officer’s permission.

“The faces have been blurred in accordance with NRS 289.025 and student privacy interests,” Records Officer Lee Bale wrote.

The university has been besieged by racial controversies in the recent past, including one of its students attending a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and a UNR police officer mocking footballer, and UNR alum, Colin Kaepernick by dressing up has him for Halloween.

UNR President Marc Johnson. Image: UNR.
UNR President Marc Johnson. Image: UNR.

UNR President Johnson’s complete statement:

The internal affairs investigation conducted by University Police Services and a separate investigation conducted by the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX regarding the police traffic stop earlier in the fall have been completed. Appropriate steps have been taken following University and Nevada personnel policies. It should be noted that personnel actions are confidential by law, due to Nevada Administrative Code 284.718.

I understand and empathize with individuals who feel frustration regarding the traffic stop and its aftermath. The thoughts, suggestions and personal testimony shared by our faculty, staff and students have reinforced in my mind the importance of a safe and welcoming campus environment.

The Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office, Chief Diversity Officer and Police Services have worked to improve the efficiency and responsiveness of our reporting policy and procedures when a crime, threatening action, or threatening words are reported. Further, Chief Adam Garcia has been meeting personally with numerous student groups on campus to understand their perceptions of safety, and will continue to do so. He has also instituted comprehensive training processes called “Bias Policing Training” for all department members, with participation from respected community members. The department has embarked on a recruitment drive to further diversify the department. Training will be ongoing.

Given what has been happening in our country, I can understand why some might feel that official statements denouncing hateful words and actions are not enough. We’ve had many conversations, meetings and workshops this semester to address these events and the impact they’ve had on our campus. We will continue to hire the most diverse faculty we can, to bring the campus together for thoughtful, meaningful dialogue on the subjects of diversity and inclusion, and continue to hold trainings and workshops so that we can all better understand each other in the workplace and in the classroom.

This is our focus going forward.

– Marc Johnson, President, University of Nevada, Reno

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About Bob Conrad 836 Articles

Bob Conrad is proprietor and co-founder of ThisisReno. He manages ThisisReno and Conrad Communications, LLC, his marketing communications consulting company (disclosure: client work includes projects funded by grants through UNR) and is an adjunct faculty member at Truckee Meadows Community College. He is a contributor to Reno Public Radio.

4 Comments

  1. ” issued a student…. ”
    Don’t you guys even proofread your comments before throwing them out on the internet ?

    Seriously, WTF ?!

  2. ” issued a student…. ”
    Don’t you guys even proofread your comments before throwing them out on the internet ?

    Seriously, WTF ?!

    Seriously, OTF ? !!!

  3. The University “…besieged by racial controversies…” really blows things out of proportion. We have extremely little in the way of race or gender friction on the Nevada campus. Having an office joke with a student rather than writing that student a ticket, or sending that student to jail, was just good community policing. Officer Wilson should be getting thanked by butt-hurt Kevin Mcreynolds, instead of having McReynolds trying to cost a good man his job.

    Dr. Johnson, in this case, has erred. The fact that a member of the perpetually offended, “snowflake generation” felt uncomfortable for being pulled over with people drinking in the car, is not justification to ignore merit-based hiring and to start playing the universally debunked affirmative action, racial quota, hiring game. Just hire and promote solely on MERIT; that is the American way. Nobody got to pick the gene pool from which they were born, so nobody should get any special preferences based on what race or gender in which they happened to be born.

    Officer Wilson deserves our thanks and a hearty, Well done! McReynolds can be thanked by every student who, from now on, will be given tickets and taken to jail as University police no longer will be treating our students in an informal way. Thanks to Mcreynolds, no more leniency, no more cases of getting off with a warning. Nobody should be surprised is future enforcement will be brutally strict and always by the book. Before, the officer would tell you to just pour out your beers and be on your way. Thanks to Kevin McReynolds, more students will be fined and hauled off to jail, rather than hearing a few informal, somewhat humorous comments from a University of Nevada Police officer, and then being sent on their way.

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