While Karle Robinson, 61, of Kansas, was moving into his new home in August 2018, Tonganoxie police put him under arrest without allowing him to give them the necessary paperwork. Robinson was released from being handcuffed after back up arrived and realized he was telling the truth.
“I’d like to see those cops and that chief lose their jobs because this was uncalled for — this is strictly racial profiling,” Robinson told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday.
At 2:30 a.m., while carrying a TV, the last item in his moving van, into his new home, an officer approached Robinson. Robinson can be heard on body camera footage telling the officer that he had just bought the house, but the officer responded, ““You just bought this house and you’re moving in at 4 in the morning?”
Without allowing Robinson to grab proof from inside the home, he was arrested. When a second officer arrived, he found paperwork proving that Robinson was the homeowner and Robinson was then released.
On Thursday, the Kansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) published a press release asking state officials to look into the matter that they believe to be a case of “moving while black.” Cases like these are not uncommon; actually, they seem to be a rising trend around the country. According to Atlanta Black Star, a black man sued Chicago city officials after police tackled him for stealing a car that turned out to be his own. The city just approved his $1.25 million settlement.
“Mr. Robinson believes his detention was motivated by his race rather than a reasonable suspicion that he was committing a burglary,” Lauren Bonds, legal director of the ACLU of Kansas, said in the group’s release. “It also appears that the Chief of Police prevented Mr. Robinson from filing a credible, legitimate complaint and that is not in compliance with reporting and intake standards. He must not interfere with citizens registering complaints.”
For weeks after the incident transpired, Robinson has claimed that he has experienced further harassment from police in the form of police continually patrolling his block, parking their squad cars across the street and even following him from his home for at least seven miles.
After Robinson’s detainment, officers apologized claiming there had been a string of burglaries in the neighborhood, but no record of such burglaries could be found. Police Chief Greg Lawson said the safety of the people who live in and visit the town is important to the department and the officers and staff have all “pledged to serve the community with honor and the highest degree of professionalism.”
Robinson isn’t so sure adding that if he were white, “we wouldn’t even be having this conversation right now.”