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Busybodies Summon Cops on Black Teen Riding Home From Church With His White Grandmother

Some concerned bystanders thought a robbery was taking place.

Wauwatosa Police Department/Screenshot via Milwaukee Journal SentinelWauwatosa Police Department/Screenshot via Milwaukee Journal SentinelGo ahead and add this one to the Summer of Snitches file: Wisconsin police handcuffed a black teenager on Sunday because a concerned couple 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.

The Wauwatosa Police Department said in a statement to local ABC affiliate WISN that an African-American couple "flagged down" an officer on patrol late Sunday morning. The couple alerted the officer to a potential robbery being carried out by "a black male in the back seat of a blue Lexus."

Two officers conducted a traffic stop and asked the teenager, 18-year-old Akil Carter, to approach them. When he did, police placed him in handcuffs and started investigating.

Dash camera footage from the patrol car shows the officers approaching the car and talking with the women in it, both of whom are white. "This is my grandson," one of the women says. "We're going back from church to my house."

One of the officers then explains why he pulled them over. After the woman insists she's known her grandson "since he was a baby," the officer apologizes. But the grandmother is still upset. "I'm sure he saw two old white ladies in the car with a black kid and [made] some assumptions," she says, referring to one of the people who reported the "robbery."

Footage from inside the patrol car shows the other officer telling Carter, who is handcuffed, that "what this sounds like is a really big misunderstanding."

It's not clear when exactly the officers placed Carter in handcuffs. But the statement from police says he was "detained based on reasonable suspicion for approximately 6 minutes" before being released. The statement also says both officers drew their handguns "but kept their weapons pointed in a safe direction during the stop."

Dominique Elliott, who witnessed the police stop, captured video footage on his cellphone. "He was crying," Elliott tells WDJT, a local CBS affiliate. "When he walked up to his grandma, she was crying."

Carter's family has since retained an attorney, who is asking police for all documents related to the incident. "After we take a look at whatever basis they have for stopping and harassing this family, we will be able to comment further," the attorney, Joy Bertrand, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

According to the police statement, both "officers acted professional during the entire interaction."

Photo Credit: Wauwatosa Police Department/Screenshot via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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  • Hamster of Doom||

    ...the statement from police says he was "detained based on reasonable suspicion...


    Disagree.

  • Hugh Akston||

    It's like you didn't even see what color that kid was.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    In this case, the cops' suspicion was reasonable: they were told a robbery might be happening and given a description of the people and the car. The suspicion of the people who alerted the officers ... not so reasonable.

  • Agammamon||

    No, no it was not reasonable.

    That they went to check it out - reasonable.

    That, upon coming up on these people, saw no evidence of a robbery or distress yet still stopped them going about their lawful business and put the dude in handcuffs - not reasonable at all.

  • Malvolio||

    No, the officer must have reasonable suspicion. An unsupported statement of another person that they find a situation suspicious cannot suffice, for obvious reasons.

    If a witness told the police "I saw Bob with holding a gun on somebody", that would constitute reasonable suspicious because if the witness is outright lying, he would be legally liable; if he's merely mistaken, well, that's why it's only "reasonable" suspicion, not certainty.

    If a witness told the police "I saw Bob with talking to somebody", that would not constitute reasonable suspicion, because the police should inquire further.

    If a witness told the police "I saw Bob with talking to somebody and since Bob is a black guy, I am reasonably suspicious he is robbing them", that would not constitute reasonable suspicion, since whatever the witness thinks, the police should be able to tell that he is being unreasonable.

  • perlchpr||

    The Wauwatosa Police Department said in a statement to local ABC affiliate WISN that an African-American couple "flagged down" an officer on patrol late Sunday morning. The couple alerted the officer to a potential robbery being carried out by "a black male in the back seat of a blue Lexus."

    So, it was other black people that called the cops on him for being black in a car with white folks?

    Jeez. Maybe the Black Man really is kept down. By everyone.

  • Ron||

    You don't really believe the cops do you?

  • Mickey Rat||

    Is there any reason given to not believe them?

    Other than rampant paranoia?

  • Eddy||

    It would depend on the video - though I doubt they'll release video of citizens complaining about alleged crime.

  • croaker||

    How does that badge taste?

  • Mickey Rat||

    So, you got nothing, then?

  • Rorschach||

  • perlchpr||

    Heh.

  • Juice||

    Fucking southern rednecks!

  • Tony||

    He's the attorney general for God's sake!

  • grips||

    Cops shouldn't be able to stop a car based only on the observations of two old racists.

  • creech||

    Until the heirs of two people killed by a carjacker sue because the "cops were told and did not investigate."

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    There's ample precedent going all the way up to SCOTUS, that you can't sue the cops for failing to protect someone or failing to stop a crime. This is true even if it happens right in front of a cop.

  • Juice||

    And yet you can be put in jail for failure to pay the bill for their "services".

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    There needs to be accountability. How sure are you o the crime you think you saw? Willing to be put in pillory fro 15 minutes if you are wrong? Willing to pay $1000 to the people you were wrong about?

    In this case, it's not the cops, necessarily. It's primarily the damned callers. The cops get some blame if the call was obviously fishy, but not much.

  • Brandybuck||

    Maybe we start calling the cops whenever we see a black cop!

    "There's a darkie with a gun! Wearing black clothes! Sitting in his car on the corner eating a donut!"

  • Fats of Fury||

    Justine Damond says 'Too late".

  • markm23||

    And he stole a cop car!

  • ||

    No, officers, you ain't hearin' me. Those two old white ladies stole somebody's n-gger!

  • SIV||

    There's no filters here.

  • perlchpr||

    I'll admit, I laughed. :D

  • Nardz||

    Ha

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "but kept their weapons pointed in a safe direction during the stop."

    At the kids is considered a "safe direction" to most cops.

  • DiegoF||

    Look, it's not always at the kids. Sometimes it's pointing slightly to the side of the kids, but you paranoid right-wing militia types persist in eliding the difference, which has been clearly clarified over and over by the authorities whose trust you are always trying to undermine, and poisoning the fabric of our society with your anti-government terrorist rhetoric.

  • DiegoF||

    Damn link! Talk about a lack of paranoia; the one time you forget to check it, happens every time.

  • Hamster of Doom||

    OT: That Data is Wrong Data - Changing Methodology

    Epsilon Theory is pretty good, if y'all like economics talk.

  • Juice||

    Wages grew 1% while inflation says "hold my beer."

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Coming home from church, no less. I hope Wauwatosa Police Department internal policies have a section to cover bad optics.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    In an emailed statement, Wauwatosa Police Captain Brian Zalewski indicated the reason for the stop was based on the information given to the officer by two citizens who were also black.

    Phew. Crisis averted.

  • Horny Lizard||

    Not quite I need to know the political affiliation of these so called "also blacks". Blackness is canceled out if they're David Clark types.

  • Horny Lizard||

    And blackness is multipled by three if the subject is under 18 and we still haven't talked about tge white male cops which is like negative infinity.

  • Exsqueezeyou||

    FFS that could have been Barry 0bama himself cept he said his grandma was a "Typical white person" (code for racist) so she would've been more understanding with the police than this grandma.

    Based on limited info, it appears the cops should've inquired just a bit more from the black couple about their basis for alleging robbery. Worst first mentality for both.

    Man looks more like Steve Urkel than a thug.

    Akil Carter is surely happy to know that his arrest "sounds like is a really big misunderstanding."
    Hand cuffing is just another day at the office for Them but not for Us...without a safe word and a Matt Lauer lock anyway.

    And who the fuck names their kid, Akil? Sounds like an especially dangerous name for a black man.

  • DiegoF||

    It does sound like it's begging for trouble from an especially pun-obsessed cop. But it is indeed a name with some history behind it, unlike infamously many choices of the black American community. For instance there's always the absurdly unblack (though doubtless very thuglike) Akhil Amar. But Im'a combine your two observations and point out that "Akil" would have made a far better name for the beloved "Original Gangsta Dawg" alter-ego.

  • Idle Hands||

    I honestly don't know what the cops are supposed to do here, I don't think this is that terrible. The handcuffs and guns drawn are awful but not the worst thing that could happen. And in order to properly investigate they have to question everyone separately, maybe they have to detain the guy to do that by state law? I don't think the police should be praised or anything for this encounter just don't view it as anything other than lose lose.

  • Agammamon||

    You could, I don't know, drive by and look in the window. I mean, if the guy's robbing them then they're not going to be calm.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    A Wauwatosa Police Officer was on patrol on Sunday 9/2/18 at approx. 11:49am and was flagged down by an African American male and African American female...

    What color were their ancestors?

  • Eddy||

    Good point...probably direct descendants of Hendrik Verwoerd.

  • Jerryskids||

    Sounds like it's past time for white grandma to give black grandson The Talk. Do old white ladies know about The Talk?

  • DiegoF||

    It probably helps a lot if Grandma grew up in the Barbary Slave States. Only those who did can even begin to relate.

  • DWB||

    BULL - SHIT

  • Uncle Jay||

    Since when do cops need probable cause?
    They should be able to arrest anyone they want.
    After all, isn't that why we give them guns and a badge?

  • majil||

    Cheer when cops are shot in the face then . Go laugh at their families and piss on the piece of craps grave.
    look at the kid ? He looks like no car jacker to anyone with a set of balls. FTP Fry'em like bacon

  • majil||

    So the cock suckers do not uncuff him and they take his information after they know northing is wrong,.
    FTP and cheer when they are shot in the face. ?

  • DWB||

    Terry - v - Ohio has to be one of the WORST decisions ever, but it's older that Roe so it must be like super duper president, heh?

    So every Kravitz calling Abner to come look out the window is now probable cause?

  • Ecoli||

    This is a nothing burger of a story and a total waste of bytes. It's very fashionable at the moment to broadcast to the nation/world every time a black person gets a paper cut.

    It only serves to further stoke racial resentment. That is the sole purpose of this sort of story. It is sickening.

  • Curly4||

    The police will be found guilty in the public eye and maybe also in the eye of the law but how about the black couple who reported the potential crime in progress?

  • tommhan||

    WHOOPS!!!!

  • Enemy of the State||

    Hey, at least it was a black couple and not a white couple who thought it looked suspicious and called the cops...

  • Gasman||

    Police did what they needed to based on a citizen report of a crime in progress.

    Unfortunate reality though is the core prejudices of the community, black and white both, led to this unnecessary confrontation between police and a young black male. Put yourself in that youth's position, being ordered out of your family's care, demands that you place yourself in a submissive position, and knowing that anything you do or any movement you make could make the men with guns 'fear for their live' and end your life in a hail of bullets.

    These police behaved per protocol, but it would be better if the stop had been less dehumanizing and less confrontational. Officer safety is not the most important concern, just one of many concerns that must be balanced against decent treatment of citizens, and actually behaving toward the public as if most people are actually innocent.

  • LDRider||

    ^^^

  • Carlito234||

    So the libertarians at Reason.com tow the deceptive leftist narrative too?

  • LDRider||

    Churching While Black.

    That's new...

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