In an apparent case of racial profiling, a Wisconsin Black teen riding home from church with his grandmom and her friend was detained by police after someone reported that he was robbing the two white women in the car, USA Today reports.
Akil Carter, 18, was handcuffed and placed in the back of a police cruiser after police stopped the Lexus, and with guns drawn, ordered the teen out of the vehicle.
Carter’s attorney Joy Bertrand said the young man was harassed by police and she’s requested all documents from the Wauwatosa Police Department pertaining to the case to examine it more closely before deciding on how to proceed.
“After we take a look at whatever basis they have for stopping and harassing this family, we will be able to comment further,” Bertrand said.
Carter was in the back seat of the car with his grandmother and her friend who was driving. Both women are white. Wauwatosa Police said an African-American couple signaled for an officer and reported that a black man was robbing two women in a blue Lexus, Wauwatosa Police Capt. Brian Zalewski said in a statement.
Zalewski that officers did pull their weapons but reportedly kept them in a pointed down position and had Carter walk back to them in what’s called a “non-approach” traffic stop. Officers did not come up to the vehicle but instead had the suspect back away.
Carter was then ordered to drop to his knees so he could be handcuffed and placed in the squad car.
A female officer asked Carter information to identify him before another officer got him out of the car and explained it was a misunderstanding. The cop said it was a “misunderstanding based on perception.”
But the grandmother while at first was seemingly understanding, but then became curt.
“I’m sure he (the person who reported it) saw two white ladies in a car with a black kid and he made some assumptions” the grandmother said.
The officer then told the grandmother that a black couple reported them, to which she responded: “that is even worse.”
Zalewski still defended the the cops.
“The officers acted professionally during the entire interaction,” he said.