The manager of a Brooklyn Center Michaels store called a teenager looking for a job simply because she is black and officials used undue force against her because of her race, a state agency that investigates civil rights abuses said. said in the findings released on Thursday.
The 16-year-old boy repeatedly said “I want to live” and “don’t kill me” as Brooklyn Center police were stopping him during a March 2019 incident, when the store manager called the police because the teen is black, Minnesota Department of Human Rights found.
Police Department and Michaels Stores Inc. Both violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act and discriminated against the teen, with the agency finding it would seek monetary relief for the teen as well as structural changes to the police department and store.
“The facts of the matter are both shocking and surprising. Michaels had no reason to call the police. And no black child should ever beg the police for their lives,” Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said in a statement. “What happened to this child is a clear violation of her dignity and her civil rights.”
A spokesman for the police department, which has been under investigation since the black motorist Don’t Wright was shot during a traffic stop in April, sent the city a request for comment, which did not respond.
A spokesperson for Michaels, which is headquartered in Irving, Texas, said the arts and crafts store disagrees with the findings based on facts and plans to appeal. “We take any claims of discrimination very seriously and work every day to make Michaels as inclusive and diverse as possible,” the statement said. The shop where this incident happened is closed.
The teenager, whose name was not released, said in a statement that “the scariest day of my life began with applying for a job at Michaels. The police were called because of the color of my skin and they called me to such an extent.” abused till I thought I was going to die.”
According to the investigation, the teenager was trying to apply for a job at a Michaels store when a white store manager, whose employees said there was a history of racially profiling black customers, called the police, it says. that the juvenile was creating a mess and would not leave.
The investigation found that surveillance video from the store showed the teen acting like a typical customer when the manager asked him to leave and he was not doing anything wrong. The investigation found that he left voluntarily, but returned, believing that he had been thrown out because of his race. The manager and another employee met her in the vestibule and stopped her from entering the store. They kept shouting at each other till the teenager left the place, without touching anyone, the investigation found.
The manager again called the police and said the teen was a “torturous customer,” “hostile” and began “touching” employees, the investigation found.
When three white Brooklyn Center police officers arrived and found the teen in another store, he appeared frightened and held his hands up in the air, the Human Rights Department found. The officers did not follow their training and immediately used undue and undue force, it determined.
Two officers threw the teen to the ground and, while he was downstairs, they and a sergeant grabbed and pulled on his dreadlocks, put a knee in his back and handcuffed him, the investigation found. .
While on the ground, the Human Rights Department said, the teen shouted, “Don’t kill me, I want to grow up.” The agency said body camera footage showed officers picked up the teen, took him outside and placed him against a brick wall as he was begging for his life.
The investigation found that body camera footage, which was not made public but was described in the agency’s findings, was contrary to police reports and officers’ testimony. In one instance, an officer said that the teen, who was 5 feet tall and weighed 100 pounds, fought with officers and was “angry rage”. In a report to justify the use of police force, the officer also said that he ordered the juvenile to put his hands behind his back.
However, investigation found that no orders were given and Kishor did not fight. It was found that body camera footage showed he was obedient and unarmed, and made no attempt to escape, raised his hands to surrender and was “clearly frightened”.
The investigation found that the officers’ actions were “so unreasonable that race discrimination is the only possible explanation for their behaviour.”
The Brooklyn Center Police Department has faced heavy criticism after Officer Kim Potter, who is white, shot and killed Wright during a traffic stop. Potter, who has been charged with murder and who resigned after the shooting, said he mistook his handgun for his Taser. The shooting prompted days of protests, and in May the city council voted in favor of a resolution that puts the city on track to make changes to its policing practices, including limiting the situations in which officers make arrests. can do.