As video of a group of young Black men being frisked while tending to their friend’s broken-down truck earlier this month has gone viral and local activists are demanding an investigation into the incident, reports The Chicago Tribune.
The police issued an apology following the incident, which took place in Dyer, Indiana on June 6, but local activists still want answers as to why a frisk search was even necessary to begin with.
On June 6, Dmani Brown posted a two-minute video to Facebook showing the police patting down and handcuffing five Black men as they were in the middle of pushing a SUV into a BP gas station parking lot.
“My truck broke down and my friends came to help me push it to the gas station. While at the gas station waiting for the tow truck we were stopped and frisked because the undercover police officer said we ‘looked suspicious,’” Brown wrote in a Facebook post. “My brother was placed in handcuffs because he verbalized his disapproval of the illegal search. Things have to change is Dyer, IN please make this go viral Sheena M. James.”
The video was recorded from a distance, so it’s unclear what the police and young men were saying.
A demand for answers
“These encounters, in which the civilians had no weapon and were not threatening police, have often ended in bloodshed and death,” said Black Lives Matter-Gary organizer Kim McGee during Thursday night’s council meeting.
She continued: “As with the cases of Levar Jones of South Carolina, and Daniel Harris of North Carolina, and many more, these officers in Dyer, Indiana, took an immediate aggressive posture toward these youth. When one of them correctly asserted his rights, he was handcuffed and sat on the ground.”
Council President Jeff Dekker responded to McGee’s concerns saying that the Town of Dyer is conducting an independent investigation.
On Friday, Dyer Metropolitan Police Chief David Hein called the incident “characteristic,” but confirmed that the investigation is ongoing.
“… If there’s something that needs to be addressed, we need to know about it and will fix it,” Hein said.