University of Miami Warns Students, Faculty: There's A Black Man On Campus

The emergency alert text went out to thousands University of Miami students and faculty last night. Here's what it said, in its entirety: "UMIAMI alert black male on campus wearing black and white tennis shoes with black writing and black shorts."

Black man on campus! Be vigilant! Needless to say, UM's black population was not amused by the errant text, which was supposed to warn students to watch out for a laptop thief on the run.

It didn't help the snafu that UM followed that vague text with another even more alarming warning that this mysterious black man was armed and students should stay indoors.

Turns out everything about the alert was wrong. The suspect, who turned out to be a 20-year-old named Del'Neco Streeter, was never armed. UM quickly apologized for the errant alert.

"The initial ENN was both incomplete and insensitive and the University of Miami offers its sincere apologies," reads a statement from the school. "University leadership has already launched a full investigation of the incident, the ENN and University procedures."

That didn't stop students from pillorying the alert on Twitter:

The story of what actually inspired the alert was somewhat complex, according to CBS Miami.

On Tuesday, a former defensive back named Robert Wright had his laptop stolen and quickly received a call from Streeter, the thief, offering to return it for $1,000. Police worked with Wright to set up a sting, but at some point Streeter got spooked and took off.

That's when the emergency alert system -- a safeguard many schools adopted after the Virginia Tech shootings -- went awry.

Streeter, a public works employee on Miami Beach, was arrested and later booked out on bond.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink