Apparently, no person of color is exempt from racial profiling, even if you’re a member of law enforcement.
New York City police officer Karim Powell, who is black, is seeking $5 million for emotional anguish after allegedly being wrongfully arrested by two white colleagues last year, Blavity reports.
Powell was pulled over while driving in the Bronx in March 2017. Although he was off-duty at the time, he was carrying his badge and weapon with him. Nevertheless, he found himself in handcuffs as two of his so-called brothers in blue harassed him and ignored his attempts to prove he was a fellow officer.
Adding insult to injury, there is no clear reason why Powell was stopped in the first place. However, the two arresting officers claimed he led them on a chase, which Powell vehemently denies.
After he was told to exit his vehicle, Powell said one of the officers “came up, and he said, ‘Turn around,’ and placed me in cuffs.”
“I took my ID out, and he said, ‘I can’t see it,’” Powell recounted.
Powell’s keys were placed on the roof of his car, and he said that one officer “took the keys off the roof and said, ‘F**k that sh*t.’” During all of this, Powell still expected that him being an officer would end up working in his favor.
A patrol supervisor eventually arrived on the scene, and although a sergeant instructed the officers to remove the handcuffs, Powell was placed in the back of a squad car like a criminal and taken to the police station for questioning.
There, Powell learned that the officers had told their supervisor that he had led them on a chase.
“The officers are lying, and the GPS data from their assigned marked [squad car] will prove it,” Powell purportedly told his union representative of the alleged chase.
Following the incident, an internal investigation was initiated during which Powell was put on modified duty. The probe lasted for more than a year, and it wasn’t until April of this year that Powell was finally placed back on full duty.
“I’ve been accused of something I haven’t done,” Powell said. “They were nasty. They didn’t do their job right.”
Now, Powell plans to sue the department. Thus far, he has filed a notice of claim, which is the first step before a formal lawsuit. Powell is a five-year veteran on the force, and one of the arresting officers even knew him “from a prior interaction regarding a parked vehicle.” Therefore, he should have recognized that he was, indeed, a fellow cop.
This ordeal just goes to show how deep racism runs in our society that even an African-American police officer is criminalized and humiliated for, essentially, no reason at all. If Powell's account of what occurred turns out to be true, hopefully he wins his case. But beyond that, the officers responsible need to face some severe disciplinary actions specifically for inconveniencing Powell and for failing to properly do their jobs overall.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: REUTERS/Gary Hershorn