A black teenager in Wisconsin was handcuffed and detained by local police while headed home from church with his white grandmother after passerby told cops he was robbing her.
Akil Carter, 18, was detained for six minutes Sunday after his grandmother’s blue Lexus was pulled over by officers of the Wauwatosa Police Department, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Wauwatosa Police Capt. Brian Zalewski told the outlet a department officer had been flagged down by a black couple who claimed a young black man had just robbed two white women, and was sitting in the back of a blue Lexus.
Video footage of the incident shows police pulling over the Lexus and demanding Carter exit with his hands up.
He does, and eventually begins walking backward to where the patrol vehicle is located.
After the officer asks his grandmother if everything is OK, she informs them that Carter is her grandson and that they’re headed back to her house from church.
“I’m telling you this is my grandson. This is my best friend. I’ve known him since he was a baby,” the woman says in a concerned voice.
The officer explains that a passerby told him two black men were robbing a white woman in her car, and apologizes “for that guy not knowing what he was talking about.”
“I’m sure he saw two old white ladies in a car with a black kid and made some assumptions,” she replied, adding it was “even worse” that the false claim came from a black man.
Additional footage also shows a handcuffed Carter being shuffled into the backseat of the patrol vehicle to be questioned.
— Wauwatosa Police (WI) (@WauwatosaPD) September 6, 2018
“I’m guessing what this sounds like is a really big misunderstanding. I’m not exactly quite sure what’s going on,” the officer tells him as Carter explains that the car’s driver is a friend of his grandmother, and his grandma is the front seat passenger.
He is eventually allowed to leave the vehicle.
Carter’s attorney Joy Bertrand told the Daily News that she believes her client was harassed, and has requested all documents relating to the stop, including dispatch records.
She said that her team has yet to receive the documents, but will be able to better determine if officers had any reasonable suspicion to conduct the car stop once they do.
“We’re really trying to give the police the benefit of the doubt with this,” she said. “(But) nothing they’ve disclosed to the press helps them. The officer’s explanation is so strange. It really points to the question of, ‘What is your motivation?’”