Genesis Hansen is a black college student in Oregon who was arrested by police officers who stopped the 21 year old after accusing her of riding a bicycle against traffic and on the wrong side of the road.
Oregon police have released a body cam video showing the arrest and the conversation leading up to it, which has drawn mixed reaction. Some have criticized the arrest as excessive; others have sided with officers because Hansen refused to provide them with her ID even after being given a repeated chance to do so to avoid arrest. At one point, they held her on the ground during the October 13, 2019 arrest, which previously went viral after citizens took cell phone videos.
The main officer in the video has been identified as Oregon Senior Trooper Kelly Katsikis. Corvallis Police Officer Donald Sheldon helped Katsikis arrest Hansen, according to The Gazette Times.
“I was wrongfully arrested today and I am going to hold those people accountable. #IDontAnswerQuestions #excessiveforce #inappropirateuseofpower,” Hansen wrote on Twitter on October 13.
Here’s what you need to know:
Police Released Body Cam Video of the Genesis Hansen Arrest
The significant moment in the body cam video comes at around 20 minutes into the above video.
At one point, the officer read the statutes and then said, “You have an opportunity at this moment to give me your identification and you can have a citation and you can leave. If you fail to do that, I am going to arrest you at this point.
Hansen kept repeating that she was asking for information. “You’re going to arrest me for not giving me information when I was asking why you needed my information.” The officer said he gave her a lawful order and she was refusing to follow it. (According to KEZI.com, “Hansen refused to provide her name or information, which police said is required under state law.”)
She stated she wanted more clarification and the officer said he either needed her to give her identification or she would be put under arrest. She responded that she doesn’t answer questions. At that point, the two officers said she was under arrest.
They then moved toward her to put her under arrest, and Hansen pulled away. “Stop! Stop!” she said as they ended up on the ground.
Oregon State police said in a statement that they are investigating the situation, writing, “These allegations are being meticulously reviewed and we are compiling as much information as possible. The agency understands the importance of vigorously investigating these allegations and is taking a serious look at the incident.”
There is a page for Officer Katsikis on the Oregon State University website. It reads:
Oregon State Police at OSU
OSU contracts with the Oregon State Police for law enforcement services on campus.
OSU Main Campus.”
2. The NAAP Has Come to Hansen’s Defense But Public Opinion Is Mixed
The NAACP has spoken out against the arrest, saying in a statement that “we view this civil rights violation by state and local law enforcement as another example of racial inequity and excessive use of force imposed on communities of color by law enforcement.” The group is demanding that charges be dropped against Hansen and the police apologize to her.
According to KGW8, Oregon State University President Ed Ray said in a statement: “Let me be clear. This matter is sufficiently troubling that unless its resolution is satisfactory to OSU, we will reassess the value of continuing a campus law enforcement service agreement with Oregon State Police.”
He told the Board of Trustees, according to KGW8, “The bottom line, to me, a student was riding her bicycle on the wrong side of the street, and it ends up with the student in handcuffs on the ground. Somebody has to tell me how this makes any kind of sense, regardless of who was involved.”
The Oregon State police then announced it was not renewing its contract with the university after 2020. “Considering our statewide obligations and concern for the safety of our own employees, the Oregon State Police has opted to allow our contract with OSU to lapse at year’s end, after the current contractual period expires,” police wrote, according to KEZI.com.
However, some people filled Hansen’s Facebook page with negative comments. “Many side with the officers on this. This could have been used as a good example for your generation. Instead you took the victim road. Real unfortunate,” wrote one. “Comply and it won’t happen. You aren’t above the law,” wrote another. “She was not a victim, she was asked to provide information she refused. Our police have a hard enough job without you acting like a brat,” said another.
But others sided with Hansen. “This is so so scary! I’m so sorry that you went through that! Disgusting behavior on the officers’ parts! ?” wrote one person on her comment thread. “Genesis! I just saw the video.I am so sorry this happened to you. I support you and I will pray for you,” wrote another.
The ACLU of Oregon advises, “It is not illegal in Oregon to refuse to identify yourself, but police may detain you until they establish your identity.”
3. Hansen Referred to Herself as Powerful & ‘Art’
“Dialogue is how we shape ourselves. I am wonderful. I am awesome. I am smart. I am kind. I am knowledge. I am awesome. I am powerful. I am here. I am art. I’m becoming who I’m going to be. I am wonderful,” Hansen wrote on her Facebook page. She wrote on Twitter that she was starring as Juliet in a campus play.
Pictures on Facebook from 2016 show that Hansen was a cheerleader. She has a Soundcloud account with a song on it, writing, “So I have no equipment, recorded this on my phone in one take, excuse the moments of self conscious improvisation. In my mind I hear so many other things in this song that I couldn’t create without excessive difficulty.”
She has shared memes, stories, and graphics on white privilege, transgender rights, the FBI’s war on the Civil Rights Movement, and against President Donald Trump, among other things.
4. Hansen Attends Oregon State University, Where She Studies English, Philosophy & Theatre
Hansen is a student in the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University.
On Twitter, she wrote, “OSU: English & Philosophy w/ Theatre minor – If I were a fruit I’d be a strawberry. they/she.” She has also posted other commentary on Twitter since the arrest. Some examples:
“museums are the pedestals of colonialism (rape genocide and systematic erasure).”
“silence is a form of agreement.”
“I’m often the only woman of color in my classes. Often the ONLY non-white person in the room.”
In January, she wrote, “Pain was a shell that held my mind hostage. Recently I’ve broken out so, here I am emerged, ready for flight and the embrace of life.”
In 2013, she was recognized as an athlete of the week at St. Helens High School.
5. Hansen Was Once Named an All-American Cheerleader & Described as Having ‘Bubbly Charisma’
According to an article in Chronicle Online, Hansen, as a high school senior, “was named an All-American during a recent Universal Cheerleaders Association camp at the University of Portland.”
As a result, she was selected to perform in the London New Year’s Day Parade. “It’s like I’m Beyonce,” she joked. She is a singer who was selected to sing the National Anthem in high school too, the newspaper reported. She raised money for the trip on GoFundMe.
The newspaper described her as having “a ready, shining smile and a bubbly charisma” and wrote that she also played soccer in high school.