Braasch, a 43-year-old graduate student at Yale University and two-degree graduate of the University of Minnesota, was planning to use a shared common space in her dorm late one May night. There, she encountered a young black woman sleeping.
Braasch called campus police to report the woman's presence, marking the second time this year she'd asked for police to check on the presence of black students in the common room. In both cases, the black student in question was a fellow Yale student of Braasch's.
The second incident went viral, after the target of Braasch's cop call, Lolade Siyonbola, recorded a brief confrontation between the two. "I have every right to call the police," Braasch tells her. Yale and its police disagreed.
So did many Yale students, plus a much larger group of people who had nothing to do with the Ivy League school, but are aware calling cops on a peacefully sleeping person, grad student or not, is not only wasteful but potentially dangerous.
The incident exploded into national news. Braasch laid low.
Until Wednesday, when a Twitter account titled "@sarahbraasch1" featuring two candid photographs of Braasch (including one at a University of Minnesota graduation ceremony) publicly addressed the situation, and sought sympathy.
She didn't find much.
In one tweet, Braasch wrote:
"You can't imagine the #pain of having everything you've worked for your entire life ripped from you in a matter of moments when you've done absolutely nothing wrong. All I ever wanted to do with my life is help people and make the world a better place. My life is over."
Why, yes, who but Sarah Braasch, attorney and Yale grad student, could possibly imagine what it's like for someone to have their "entire life ripped from you in a matter of moments when you've done absolutely nothing wrong"?
In a second tweet, this one linking to an NPR story about social media-inspired mob violence in India, Braasch wrote: "I literally had to flee #Yale's campus and go into hiding for my safety. I'm a lifelong and proud #humanrights #activist who has devoted her life to #socialjustice."
These tweets aren't going over well. Braasch's tweets have inspired swift, near-universal condemnation -- whether that counts as a "mob driven to violence" in Sarah's book is unclear -- with none more widely disseminated than these, from writer Zoe Samudzi.
“Done nothing wrong,” pal you called the police on a black woman taking a nap while saying “I have every right to call the police” when you could’ve expended LESS effort by minding your business and walking past. pic.twitter.com/OxAnwIJDlf— Zoé (@ztsamudzi) July 19, 2018
Sarah Braasch is leaning hard into her white womanhood: first acting as the aggressor, and then retreating into some imagined martyrdom when she discovers racist actions have consequences. pic.twitter.com/YoIjmKGfUf— Zoé (@ztsamudzi) July 19, 2018
Calling the police is self-deputizing to teach someone a lesson. There is only ever degrees of malicious intent. You’ll have to spare me if it backfired you didn’t ruin a black woman’s life *as planned*.— Zoé (@ztsamudzi) July 19, 2018
Braasch, the Minnesota native who'd previously written at length about being raised Jehovah's Witness, appears to have retreated once more.
She's set her Twitter account to private, leaving only the two photos, a self-penned description -- "Philosophy PhD Candidate at Yale, a rocket scientist, a NYS attorney, & a human/civil rights activist" -- and a quote from Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice: "But in the end truth will out."