A black actor believes that his arrest and subsequent hourslong detainment were a result of racial profiling after cops mistook him for a burglary suspect.
According to the Los Angeles Times, actor Darris Love and his girlfriend, Ayesha Dumas, had just finished up a trip to the Apple Store in Glendale, Calif., when the former was jumped by a group of Glendale Police Department officers and wrestled to the ground.
“Have you ever had someone’s knee in your neck on the concrete?” Love questioned during a news conference Tuesday. “That is the most excruciating pain ever.”
Love told NBC News that deputies had approached him, with weapons drawn, as they barked orders.
“If you do anything wrong—breathe wrong, look wrong—you could be dead,” he said.
Dumas said that she was also “held at gunpoint with a K-9 dog barking at me to get out of my car.”
As it turns out, around the time that Love was running across the street to get his parking validated, officers were involved in a high-speed chase with three burglary suspects riding in a black BMW. The suspects had pulled into a parking lot near the Glendale Galleria Mall, where Love and Dumas were, and then ditched the vehicle.
As officers were searching for the suspects, they set up a perimeter around the mall and searched, which is how Love apparently got dragged into this.
The actor was detained after a deputy from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department saw him and pointed him out as a suspect. Even though investigators were searching for three men, Dumas’ Honda Civic was searched, and its air conditioning unit pulled out.
Love was put in a squad car with Senior Lead Officer Daryl Scoggins, who asked him to explain himself. Love, who had small roles in Straight Outta Compton and NYPD Blue, tried to explain the misunderstanding, showing the officer his parking validation ticket as evidence. Scoggins and another officer confirmed the story using surveillance footage from the mall.
“Darris Love was detained by Glendale police at the mall and turned over to the LAPD after he was mistakenly identified by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department as the possible suspect. He was in LAPD’s custody for less than three hours and was released after it was determined he was not the suspect,” the department spokesperson said in a statement.
Love “closely resembled” the burglary suspect, Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Nicole Nishida added, and when Glendale police saw him running toward an illegally parked car not far from where the original chase ended, they detained him.
However, Love’s attorney, James Bryant, told NBC News that his client was released after seven hours. Police, Bryant claimed, failed to do “any number of things they could have done to quickly resolve this issue to determine he was not a suspect.”
“We feel [Love] was just randomly picked out and racially profiled by Glendale police,” the attorney added.
Another attorney, Brian Dunn, said that Love planned to file a suit against the Sheriff’s Department for compensatory and punitive damages. Dunn said that the false arrest “was a result of racial profiling.”
“Because of their attention only to Mr. Love, this crime has not been solved,” Dunn said. “The bad guys got away, and the bad guys got away because [authorities] were so focused on this man.”