African-American teen riding in car with white grandmother mistakenly detained by Wisconsin police
The family of an African-American man in Wisconsin is threatening to sue the police department, after officers pulled over the car his grandmother and a friend were driving, then handcuffed the 18-year-old.
CBS reported that officers pulled the car over on Sept. 2 after receiving a tip about a black man who was seen robbing a white woman.
But Akil Carter’s family has doubts about the department’s story.
Carter’s family said his grandmother, Paulette Barr — who is white — was about to drop him off at work when they were stopped by police.
In dashcam video, officers can be heard telling Carter to “keep his hands in the air” and “face away from us.”
A woman is also heard telling officers, “that’s my grandson.”
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The Wauwatosa Police Department said in a statement posted to Facebook that an African-American man and woman had alerted them to a robbery and identified the vehicle Barr was driving — a blue Lexus.
However, police said, they never got a formal statement because the witnesses left the area, despite being asked by police to stay and provide a statement.
In video released by police, one officer can be heard saying, “Well, I’m guessing what this sounds like is a really big misunderstanding.”
The family’s lawyer is calling on police to release dashcam video of any interaction with the witnesses described in their statement.
“It seems strange that for all the dashcam footage the police have turned over, we have not seen anything where the officer is interacting with these people,” attorney Joy Bertrand told CBS.
Bertrand suggests the officers overreacted. She said Carter’s grandmother feels helpless and wonders what she could have done to protect her grandson.
A police spokesperson told CBS the officers responded appropriately and said that Carter was released as soon as they realized there was a misunderstanding.
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