Woman calls police on Black man using his phone, falsely claims he had gun

Darren Cooper had arrived early for a meeting, but someone reported to local cops that he was sitting in his car armed.

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An Akron, Ohio man recounted the events that led to officers from the Ravenna Police Department pulling guns on him as he sat in a parking lot on Aug. 13.

Darren Cooper (in t-shirt) arrived early in Ravenna, OH for a meeting, but someone reported to police that he was sitting in his car armed.

According to Darren Cooper, he was in Ravenna, a town about 20 miles northeast of Akron, sitting in his Mustang talking on his speaker phone and drinking tea when police pulled into the parking lot and approached his car, yelling, “Put your hands up!” 

Cooper told the Akron Beacon Journal that he was waiting outside of the Portage County Job and Family Services building, where he was expected for a 9 a.m. training session.  

Turns out a woman from a dentist’s office across the street had called police to say a man was sitting in a car with a gun. According to the report, in the 911 call, she is heard saying, “I really believe he was holding a pistol.” 

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The woman continued: “I’m pretty darn sure it’s a pistol.” 

Four police officers arrived with unholstered weapons. Cooper was searched and released, and the police officers apologized. 

Cooper said he was “happy” to share his story “because my wife almost lost a husband, and my kids almost lost their father, over someone who thought I had a gun, but it was my iPhone.” 

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Cooper said the woman didn’t identify him by race, nor did she give the correct color of his car. The caller said his Mustang was black; it is dark gray. To him, “attention to detail is of the utmost importance.” 

Captain Jake Smallfield, a spokesman for the Ravenna Police Department, noted that he felt the incident was handled “professionally and civilly.”

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Smallfield said that he doesn’t plan to charge the caller, saying that police rely on tips to help deter crime. However, Cooper disagrees.

“They didn’t come at me with excessive force,” he said, “but the person who filed the false police report should be charged.” 

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