Black Man Cuffed on His Own Property While Moving Into New Home

"I'm being handcuffed right here on my own damn property," Karle Robinson said while watching body camera footage of the incident.


The Kansas City Star/Screenshot

A black military veteran is calling foul after Kansas police handcuffed him on his own property. His infraction? Moving into his new home.

Karle Robinson, 61, can understand why a Tonganoxie police officer was suspicious in the first place. It was past 2 a.m. in the morning, and he was trying to move a flat-screen TV into his house. What Robinson doesn't get is why, after offering to retrieve documentation proving it was really his house, he was treated like a criminal.

"If I'd been a white man, you know that wouldn't happen," Robinson told The Kansas City Star while watching body camera footage of the incident. The video, along with Robinson's interview with the Star, can be seen below:

In the footage, the officer, who's alone, asks Robinson to stand against the side of the house. "Place your hands on top of your head for me," the officer says before cuffing him.

Robinson didn't resist, but he wasn't happy. "I'm being handcuffed right here on my own damn property," he told the Star. In total, Robinson was in handcuffs for about eight minutes. After backup arrived, two officer went into his house and found the paperwork proving his ownership. Police uncuffed him, apologized, and even helped him move the TV inside.

But he wasn't about to let it go. Robinson filed a complaint with the Tonganoxie Police Department and spoke with Police Chief Greg Lawson. As a black man, he told the Star, "you're guilty until proven innocent."

Nothing came of his complaint, and Lawson defended his officer's actions. "If I were on that call, by myself, no matter the race of the person, they would have been handcuffed," Lawson said.

Reached for comment by Reason, Lawson says the officer was not in violation of department policy. "The department policy is that we're going to follow the law as far as when we detain people…based upon reasonable suspicion or probable cause," he says, explaining that it "primarily goes back to officer safety."

So did the officer believe himself to be in danger? Not necessarily, Lawson says. But in cases like these, officers "want to be cautious and they want to make sure that they're preventing any injury to themselves or the person that they're actually confronting."

Lawson went on to explain there had been "10-12 burglaries to autos" in the same timeframe, so police "were on alert to be looking out for anything overly suspicious."

As Robinson noted, the problem in this case isn't that the officer was suspicious. It's the fact that in the absence of evidence, a law-abdiding citizen was treated llike a criminal on his own property.

And Robinson is not alone. Last month, I wrote about Akil Carter, a black teenager who was handcuffed by police even though he didn't do anything wrong. A concerned couple had flagged down police because they thought he might be robbing two white women. In reality, one of the women was his grandmother, and the three of them were simply driving home from church.

Neither Robinson nor Carter were hurt. But it's an affront to their constitutional rights when they're handcuffed not because there's evidence linking them to a crime, but because police want to be on the safe side.

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  1. Police aren’t trained to read. They are trained to treat everyone like a criminal and murderous cop killer.

  2. They didn’t know who he was, but he was taking a TV *into* a house? On the hypothesis that he was a burglar, he sounds like an eccentric burglar. Hence more dangerous, I suppose.

    Or maybe it was a safe house for all the stuff he stole?

    1. I’m trying to concoct a non-innocent hypothesis here.

      Probably it was because someone called in a complaint and the cop believed he had to follow up. With due regard for officer safety of course.

      1. I’m trying to concoct a non-innocent hypothesis here.

        There’s that old joke about the thief who steals your stuff and replaces it with exact duplicates?

        1. It’s hard to tell, when you’re looking for a Dog to shoot, if the perp is moving things in or out. Maybe he was putting it back because the truck was full and he was going to come back for a second load.

          1. It could have been a finicky thief.

    2. If someone was caught stealing from your house and the cop let the person escape to “find their papers” you’d be pissed and probably sue them.

      The cop was by himself, had the person wait 8 whole minutes for backup to arrive, backup searched for papers, found them, then said sorry and helped him with the TV.

      This is exactly how it is supposed to work.

      But apparently you Reason cucks think black people should have special rights and be treated better than white people. If that’s the best the “american’s are all racist” crowd can come up with, then you’ve got nothing.

      1. How’s cop dick taste?

        1. rocks appears to be a good little cop succor.

          Extra slobbery, probably.

          1. What a fine Christian you are, Reverend.

            1. The title should be ignored! Even if, he can still be a jerk. Sounds liek he might hve a lot of apologizing to do in the next life!

      2. What kind of a burglar takes a tv into a house?

        1. first you burgle it from one house and install in your own house at 2am. that said sometimes moving ocures at all hours since you often have a limited time frame so a 2am move in is not unreasonable

      3. He couldn’t have him wait without cuffing him?

        1. That’s the big thing. Moving furniture around a house at 2AM is inherently suspicious. Inquiring and asking is reasonable. The handcuffs are completely unnecessary.

      4. “you’d be pissed and probably sue them”

        The problem here is that most jurisdictions don’t allow suits against cops just because they fail to catch crooks. So in your hypothetical I’d be out of luck, and you’d call me a cop-hater hating on the cops for respecting the rights of citizens like they’re paid to do.

        1. Anyway, I’d be too busy enjoying the flat-screen TV the crook donated to me.

          (kidding, I’d turn the TV over to the cops because it wasn’t mine)

          1. Careful, they might civil asset Forfeiture your whole house, who knows if you were part of the crime

      5. This is exactly how it is supposed to work.

        Aside from the fact that the 4th amendment disagrees, the whole thing not only represents a violation of his rights but also a woefully inefficient (and costly) process.

      6. No, this is NOT “how it is supposed to work”.

        The papers were in the house. The cop could have politely walked in with the man to get them. Or let the man go in while the cop waited (safely) inside his squad car. Or if the cop was really that scared that the man might be alerting a dozen well-armed confederates who were just hiding inside the house, maybe the cop could have waited for backup before he confronted and handcuffed an innocent man.

        Nothing about this is “how it is supposed to work”. Not for blacks, not for whites, not for anyone.

        1. Instead of 12 well-armed confederates, how about just one? Or do burglars never work in pairs?

          Wait for backup? While the TV drove away? Or the suspect walked out the back door, hopped a fence and was never seen again?

          All to avoid a guy spending 8 whole minutes in cuffs?

          1. Yes.

      7. rocks – you, the cop and the chief are cowards and don’t deserve an opinion on others’ freedoms. Watch Andy Griffith for how it’s supposed to work, not SWAT.

        1. Adny Griffith?
          Where no one ever tried to escape or resist arrest?
          Get into the real world.

          1. Fuck off, slaver twat.

      8. Do you prefer German or Italian leather on the boot you like to see on people’s necks?

        1. Hob nailed

      9. You’re fine with being handcuffed for no reason and are calling *other* people cucks?

    3. I’m having a hard time coming up with reasonable suspicion, other than the time. Crooks take stuff out of houses at 2AM.

      Would the cop have ignored the situation had it happened in daylight? Does darkness create reasonable suspicion all by itself?

      I dunno.

      1. Does darkness create reasonable suspicion all by itself?

        Well, you can clearly see how dark he is.

      2. If you pull up to a house and you see a guy maneuvering a big TV into the door, how do you know which direction he was going 10 seconds earlier?

        1. His neighbors suck for not knowing the previous owners moved out.

          1. And you would think with today’s technology they might have updated info from the county clerk about ownership.

          2. So, the neighbors should have been hanging around at 2AM?
            And been there to tell the cop that the house was unoccupied?

            1. Get lost, you fucking imbecile.

        2. Were the lights on or off?

  3. But it’s an affront to their constitutional rights when they’re handcuffed not because there’s evidence linking them to a crime, but because police want to be on the safe side.

    When will people understand that when dealing with the police we have no rights? None at all. Only two things matter to the police: officer safety and total compliance. That’s it. Their complete safety and your unquestioning obedience are all that matters. If you don’t like it you can complain afterwards, just don’t expect anything else to happen.

  4. “If I’d been a white man, you know that wouldn’t happen,”

    I would say it is credible that it could happen to a white man.

    1. I have been handcuffed while being detained and I am white. So yes it happens and it does suck being treated like a criminal when your are in the right.

      1. I have been handcuffed while being detained and I am white.

        Me, too. Locked into the back of a police car, even.

    2. Maybe a tweaker looking dude. That’s why I move in wearing a tuxedo. No one hassles a man in black tie and tails.

      1. It’s after 6. I’m not a farmer.

      2. No one hassles a man in black tie and tails.

        There’s truth in this. One of the smartest decisions I made in my 20s was buying a beige Volvo. May as well have been invisible.

      3. I find a monocle works as well.

  5. I don’t care that he’s black and you shouldn’t either.

    1. The other element to this story is that he was more likely to be treated in this way because he was black. There’s data to demonstrate this to generally be true.

      To me, I found this part of the article more irrelevant: A black military veteran is calling foul

      Why should we care about whether he was a military veteran? It appears that Reason is trying to appeal to the right wingers here who might generally be more inclined to believe a military guy’s story.

      1. And there’s data that says the reason it happens more often is because blacks commit crimes more often.

        That data.

        And yet, I don’t care that he’s black and you shouldn’t either.

        Because that isn’t relevant. It shouldn’t happen to anyone ever and lookong at it from the perspective of racialism doesn’t change that.

        1. There’s nothing in your link to support your statement. If you click my link, you’ll learn why that’s the case. (short answer: raw data lacks proper controls)

          As a side note, google the name of the author of the Post article I linked to. You’ll find that he’s a very well known libertarian.

          1. Commie rag WaPo won’t let those of us, who hate having to look at their efforts to raise money, read their BS articles. They’re not believable, anyway. Especially from a “well known libertarian”, whose party is known for hating law enforcement.
            Tulpa links to actual crime statistics.
            If you want proof, listen to a police scanner in any reasonably sized city and you will hear information, directly from the crime victims, describing the race of the perpetrator. It is even more prevalent than the statistics say.

      2. I have been a social science researcher for decades.

        Believe me when I tell you that any research indicating no disparity in racial treatment will simply disappear into a drawer.

        That isn’t even purely a function of a bias in favor of finding racism. It also has to do with a bias in favor of finding interesting results, positive results.

        Social science results that show that nothing interesting is happening do not often get published.

        1. Much of that applies even in the hard sciences. Physics experiments with negative results don’t get published.

    2. It’s Joe Setyon. In his world, I’m sure it’ll be Selma 1964 until the end of time.

  6. Lawson went on to explain there had been “10-12 burglaries to autos” in the same timeframe, so police “were on alert to be looking out for anything overly suspicious.”

    Many years ago I was riding my bicycle at night and the cops stopped me. They said that they were on the look out for someone on foot, dressed in camo, who was vandalizing cars.

    I was on a bike and wearing denim. They took the opportunity to search me and run me for warrants anyway.

    At least they didn’t cuff me while they were at it.

    Sometimes I think bored cops make shit up. Probably because bored cops make shit up.

    1. I always wear a suit and tie when I bike. Hopefully you learned a lesson.

      1. *hangs head in shame*

    2. A bored cop is a dangerous cop. That’s why I never vote for police levys. Hiring more cops means you have more bored cops. Cops should be humping ass like a slave from check-in to check-out.

    3. Can you just get a blog a post that story there, so you can link to it in your name. Telling it every week isn’t necessary.

      1. I can’t think of the last time I told that particular story. Doesn’t often relate. Though in this case, a story about someone being harassed by cops at night for doing nothing wrong by cops using crimes against automobiles as their excuse, it seems somewhat related.

        1. I asked nicely.

  7. “If I were on that call, by myself, no matter the race of the person, they would have been handcuffed,” Lawson said.

    Case closed.

    1. Handcuff’em all and let god sort’m out.

  8. As a black man, he told the Star, “you’re guilty until proven innocent.”

    Mr. Robinson, just be glad you’re not being accused of rape.

    1. Or a nominee for the SC.

  9. I call BS on the “wouldn’t have happened to a white man” charge.

    About 10 years ago I was heading home after a party in the wealthy Atlanta Buckhead area. It was about 2:30, maybe 3:00 in the morning and a couple guys had a white truck backed up to the garage of a house down the street. It looked really sketchy – super rich neighborhood and a generic white delivery truck backed up to the garage, a couple of guys in wife-beaters…. sketchy.

    We flagged down a patrol car and told them there was somebody probably moving – but maybe they should check it out since it was the middle of the night. The cops took off like they had been shot at.

    I asked my friend about it later and it turned out that the neighbor down the street was moving out after a divorce and was making his last trip. The cops detained them while they checked everything out. They put them in the back of the car and everything. They were not only white, but rather wealthy. Moving expensive stuff in the middle of the night is going to look suspicious, no matter what your race.

    1. That can’t be true. All the best people tell me that cops are only suspicious of black people and sometimes hispanics.

  10. “If I’d been a white man, you know that wouldn’t happen,”

    1. Fuck.

      It’s really cute that he believes that.

  11. I think instead of cuffing the person the cop could have gone into the residence with the person to see the documentation. the other cops who went looking for the documentation were probably hoping to find more than just papers

  12. I watch LivePD all the time – mainly because I like to see how stupid people really are, but also gives you a good idea how cops act.

    I’ve noticed that most of the departments that are on the show cuff people when they are “detained”. Doesn’t matter the race. But, I have a issues with this.

    I really don’t feel it is right to cuff immediately then ask questions all in the name of “officer safety”.

    1. they calim its for your safety but i think its an illegal detaining but the courts have decided otherwise

  13. As Robinson noted, the problem in this case isn’t that the officer was suspicious. It’s the fact that in the absence of evidence, a law-abdiding citizen was treated like a criminal on his own property.


  14. We can’t have a police state unless we terrorize citizens at every given opportunity.
    What’s wrong with you people?

  15. “If I’d been a white man, you know that wouldn’t happen,” Robinson told The Kansas City Star

    wanna bet? This is a policing issue, not a race issue. But keep turning everything into a race issue, because that worked so well the last time the country was talking about police reform. Black lives matter!

    1. This is a policing issue, not a race issue.

      Why can’t it be both?

      1. you think cops would have done nothing if a white guy was moving a tv set at 2 am? The issue was quickly resolved, too, and on the scene.

        1. I don’t think there would have been a call.

        2. I don’t think there would have been a call.

  16. 2 a.m. in the morning

    You sure it wasn’t 2 a.m. in the afternoon?

    1. That always bugs me, too.

  17. Serves you right for living in Kansas.

  18. Just stop. Middle of the night. Issue resolved in a few minutes. Cops even apologized and helped the guy move some stuff. Not everything is because you’re black.

    1. white commenter . . . check

      southern commenter . . . check

      male commenter . . . check

      ‘not a damned liberal’ commenter . . . check

      1. can’t attack the argument, so attack the person. Now, that is a liberal commenter living down to the stereotype.

    2. The issue could have been resolved without the cuffing.

  19. This guy should probably be thankful the officer didn’t kill him, take the television, and claim he thought it was his own television.

    Jury’s still out on whether that works in Texas. Kansas can’t be much better.

  20. Question for Mr Karle Robinson:

    Assign motive much?

  21. Perhaps this officer was training for a position in Cambridge MA?

    1. He acted…stupidly.


  22. Dude, this white boy has experienced and, come to expect, the same treatment. Cops don’t care that I’m white!

    1. Yeah, I’d say that anyone relying on their “white privilege” to get respectful treatment by cops is going to be…disappointed, to put it mildly.

      1. (Eg, the woman in Minnesota)

    2. No shit. Had a phone malfunctioning at my house once where it was apparently causing the alarm company to trigger a call to the cops. The cops show up and I try explaining the situation. Of course, “they require” to come into my home even after I proved with ID it is my house. When I tell them I can let them listen to the r phone to hear the issues I’m having they agree. As soon as I reach for the phone her hand to go her gun.

      I just stopped reaching and looked at her like she was a complete idiot. After a few seconds she moved her hands and then I finally picked up that oh so dangerous wireless phone.

      Being white, in my house, explaining what I want to do, receiving agreement, not making fast moves, stayed totally calm the entire time and still saw how bad that could go quickly.

  23. Greg Lawson (why honor this scumbag with a title that connotes respect?) is full of shit. If I would have been in Mr. Robinson’s place (old white guy), I am certain that the thug would have offered to help me carry the TV. Then asked for a beer (or a bribe).

    Americans are finally waking up to the fact – that’s right, FACT – that the most dangerous criminal gangs where uniforms and have the blessing of the state to rob and murder people.

  24. Based on what I saw in the video, the cop did the right thing and did it professionally. I’d expect the same treatment if a cop found me in the same situation. I’m white, male, around Robinson’s age, and in St. Louis county Missouri. Getting grilled about moving would suck – but it wouldn’t surprise me.

    There’s a lot of activity that isn’t unlawful but can easily look suspicious, depending on circumstances. Put yourself in the cop’s shoes… How do you know which way the TV was going before you arrived – in or out? How do you know what else is in the truck – and where it came from? How do you know who else is nearby – in the truck or in the house?

    You wouldn’t know any of that. Cops aren’t omniscient automatons. They need to stop you and ask questions about what you’re doing in odd circumstances, just like anyone else would.

    While we need to hold cops accountable, bashing them for routine activity like this is pretty clueless.

  25. These are the kind of stories that unless you were there, you can’t begin to judge. Maybe not even if you were there.

    One time, the police got a 911 call, which they traced to our house, due to some crossed telephone wires. It took my wife about ten minutes to convince the cop that she hadn’t placed the call and nothing untoward was going on. It was annoying but I don’t hold it against the cop.

  26. So, which occupies top billing, the Constitution or officer safety? Seems to me, when someone applies for a job as a police officer, he/she would be aware that there may be considerable risk. If that is unacceptable, perhaps they should choose a different profession. If they are unable to distinguish between appropriate intervention and inappropriate intervention, they should be referred to more training. Frankly, though I know they have a tough job, no shortcuts are acceptable when human lives are at risk. Frankly, I don’t think any “rookie” should be authorized to carry a firearm for at least a year of “apprenticeship” with a senior officer. They are hired to protect the lives and safety of the public first, not their own lives and safety first. These are not easy judgments, which is why they should apprentice for at least a year. In this case, the officer should be retrained or find a different career path where such acute judgment is not required.

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