Along with the video, Brian stated:
“They harassed me, because I, ‘fit the description’ of a black male in black clothes. The real description was of a white male.”
Date of Incident: August 23, 2013
Department Involved: Canton (MI) Police Department
Department Phone Number: (734) 394-5400
Department Email: Email Canton Police Department
Facebook Page: Canton Police Department on FB
Twitter Account: @CantonPSD
In a description included on the video, Brian explains that he was heading from his house to the gym when he noticed that he was being surrounded by police cars, including an undercover vehicle. Soon after a uniformed officer and undercover officer in plain clothes (who refused to identify himself) approached and began demanding ID from Brian.
Brian further states that he told them that he was not required to give them ID unless they had reasonable suspicion of him having committed a crime to detain. They then responded by telling him that he “fit the description” of someone that had been reported as exposing himself to women in the area. According to the officers, that description was “a black 20 year old male wearing black shorts, a black shirt, and a medalion.”
However, Brian indicates that he later found an official report from the Canton Police Department, which included the description of the person(s) suspected of exposing themselves. That description actually included two people, both of whom are white and significantly different in appearance to Brian’s physical characteristics.
Within that description and also numerous times on the video footage itself, Brian also states that when he refused to provide his ID and instead asked to speak to a supervisor, the original two officers acted aggressively toward him and appeared ready to assault him. He equates the fact that did not happen to his having began filming them shortly after.
It’s certainly not impossible that a third person who was black had been reported exposing himself that day. However, it’s also not an uncommon tactic for the police to claim someone fits the description of a suspect they are looking for to justify stopping someone they have decided they want to harass. In fact, cops have even been caught using fake 911 calls to manufacture a reason to perform illegal searches.
In this particular instance, the cops never bring the alleged victim over to visually identify Brian (which is often done from within a police vehicle to ensure anonymity), nor is any other type of evidence produced to substantiate their claims of suspicion. Instead, the dozen or so cops that have shown up to harass Brian simply leave once the supervisor has (finally) shown up and spoken to him.
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