African American Former Cop Confronts Racist Officers Who Said He ‘Fit the Description’

Michigan police detained a man because he allegedly fit the description of a criminal they were looking for. But the man not only knew his rights – as he had done nothing wrong – he as in fact a former police officer himself. Knowing he would need to document the encounter, he clicked record on his smart phone camera. The officers said they were looking for an African American male wearing black shorts. The individual recording the encounter, Mr. Sylvan Triggs was in fact wearing black shorts… But then again, so were – no doubt – many others, as this is a very common piece of attire for someone to wear in the warmer months. This hardly served as probable cause to detain someone. But to make matters worse for the police who tried to harass him, when Triggs looked up the actual description of the flasher, it turned out he was a tall white male in his 20’s. Triggs was a short black male in his 40′s. This was a clear-cut case of racial harassment. Read what happened in Triggs’ own words: On 8.27.13 between 6 – 6:30 p.m. as I walked from my home to my car in my town house complex parking lot I noticed a white Pontiac Grand Prix and a Canton Michigan police car pull in front of my vehicle blocking me in to the parking space. Without identifying himself a white male wearing all black exited the grand prix followed by an also unidentified uniformed police officer from the police cruiser and begin to order me to produce some identification. Neither person explained to me the situation or why they needed the identification and it was only after I asked why they needed my I.D. did they simply say that I “fit the description”. Knowing that I hadn’t done anything wrong or illegal I mentioned to them that there was no reason for me to give them my I.D. and conveyed to them that I was still uncertain as to what was actually happening. Therefore I continued to ask questions in order to gain a better understanding as to why they were becoming more and more agitated without provocation from myself. My inquires gained very few answers and only caused them to both raise their voices in an attempt to intimidate me further. Surrounding me in an threatening aggressive manner they treated me as if my guilt was a foregone conclusion. I told them that I was going to reach into my pocket and retrieve my phone to call 911 because I felt threatened and wanted to speak with a Supervisor. They yelled that they were the cops and to immediately remove my hands from my pockets; an known police tactic to make it seem as if I was being uncooperative in order to warrant them escalating their actions. Still standing at the rear of my vehicle they took a offensive posture preparing to take me down to the ground while implying over the radio to police dispatch that I was being in their words irrational. For my own safety and protection I then moved to the side of my vehicle and began to record the entire incident with my cellphone camera. With me no longer standing between the officers and the rear of my vehicle Officers Champagne and DeYoung began to conduct an illegal search of the my trunks contents until they noticed I had been filming them which caused them to shy away. The only bright spot during this incident was my interaction with an Officer Voet whom calmly and with respect finally explained the on-going situation to me regarding a woman being flashed nearby earlier. My concern isn’t with being stopped or questioned (although clearly it had to be obvious to the officers involved that I didn’t match the callers actual description) it was the manner in which Officers Champagne and DeYoung along with their cohorts chose to perform that task. Instead of identifying themselves and explaining the situation in a respectful way they chose instead to use intimidation as a means to gain the desired information/response from me. Even after the ‘victim’ in the case confirmed that I was indeed not the perpetrator no officer expressed any regret for their actions. They instead continued to try to convince me why their previous harassing activities were justified. This behavior continued was I went to secure a copy of the police report under the Freedom of Information Act on 8.29.13 as I was in the civilian records office a Detective Baugh investigating the case sent an armed officer to demand my identification even though I had already given it to one of the records workers. I told that officer that the Detective himself is more than welcome to come and speak with me if needed which he eventually did. That is when it became apparent to me that intimidating coercive language rather than respectful dialogue is clearly engrained as a communication method within the Canton Police Dept. as the Detective himself tried to convince me that I was overreacting and should “understand” how certain mistakes can be made. Actually I don’t understand how I should bury my head and relent by allowing rogue

Source: African American Former Cop Confronts Racist Officers Who Said He ‘Fit the Description’

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