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Bates College’s lead campus safety officer fired over student incident

Students walk past Hathorn Hall on the Bates College campus. Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images, File

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — A 25-year campus security officer accused of tackling a student and having him handcuffed has been fired by Bates College.

Lead Campus Safety Officer Dennis Skinner was accused of failing to follow rules on use of force and a consultant who led an investigation concluded Skinner “can no longer serve the institution,” according to a report of the incident filed this week, the Sun Journal reported.

Skinner had been on paid leave while the report was being filed.

On March 5, Skinner responded to a report of violations of COVID-19 and alcohol rules by first-year students in a dorm. A student walked in holding a can of beer just as Skinner arrived.

The student attempted to leave and others scattered when Skinner told him, “Show me your ID,” the report said. Skinner struggled with the student and tackled him, and a second officer handcuffed the students.

The handcuffs were removed when Skinner made it clear he didn’t want the student to be arrested.

Skinner’s home phone number was disconnected and he could not be reached immediately for comment Wednesday.

The race of the student was not known. The consultant said she is continuing to investigate the relationship between campus police and people of color, and said the relationship requires “further examination and deliberation by the college.”

Skinner was previously recorded saying most officers at the college are afraid to take action against Black students.

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