Local police departments say they were not involved in the alleged handcuffing of a University student who said she was verbally and physically attacked while crossing the Washington Avenue Bridge in a Facebook post Wednesday.
On Facebook and Twitter, the University of Minnesota Police Department and the Minneapolis Police Department said there were no records of the incident Kathy Mirah Tu described in her Facebook post.
In the widely-shared post, Tu said she was harassed by a white male on the bridge.
"I was stop[ped] in my [tracks] by a white male, who yelled at me to 'Go back to Asia.' ... I pretended to not hear anything and continue[d] on walking since I didn't want to create conflict," Tu, who noted she is Asian-American, wrote in the post on her personal Facebook page. "Shortly after that moment, I was stopped by that same man who told me 'Don't you know it's disrespectful to walk away from someone when they are talking to you?"
In her post, Tu wrote that the man grabbed her wrist and threatened to fight her, so she punched him in the throat.
"His friends who were watching the entire situation go down saw that I was going to the win fight and came over to his rescue and accused me of assaulting him and called the police," she wrote.
She said police handcuffed her, checked her criminal history and let her go with a warning.
In a tweet Thursday afternoon, UMPD said they did not respond to the incident and asked Tu to contact police. "UMPD was not involved but want to talk to the female who posted this on social media," the tweet said.
Minneapolis police also asked anyone with information to come forward.
University alumna Sandy Moua circulated a petition in reaction to the alleged incident that garnered 592 signatures as of Sunday evening. It calls for University administrators, Board of Regents and police to condemn hateful actions on campus, suspend faculty and students accused of racism and mandate a buddy system between campus security and students — among other requests.
"While we recognize that the University of Minnesota is a complicated system, we know that if you have the power to dismantle General College (Spring 2005), revamp the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence and raise tuition by 53% since 2004 then you can certainly enact these policies and procedures swiftly," the petition read.
Tu's Facebook post had more than 17,000 shares and 30,000 reactions as of Thursday evening.
Tu didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment. On Friday morning, Tu’s post became unavailable. Later that morning, Tu’s Facebook account appeared to have been deleted.
Tu’s allegation comes amid a wave of similar stories of racially motivated attacks. In one other case, a Muslim college student in Louisiana who claimed she was attacked admitted that the story was fabricated.
Chris Aadland contributed to this report.