A 15-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department says he was racially profiled and accosted by a fellow officer earlier this month for having $5,000 cash in his possession at a training event.
What are the details?
Black Officer Chris Williams was one of about 100 plain-clothed cops in attendance for a daylong session at the city’s police training center on June 6. His girlfriend, a fellow member of the force, was also there and used her lunch hour to withdraw money from her bank account to pay some bills after recently selling her home.
Williams agreed to hold some of the funds for his girlfriend for safekeeping. At the end of the day, a young white officer saw Williams stuffing the cash into his pocket while in the restroom.
As Williams and his girlfriend made their way to the parking lot to leave, he says, the white officer yelled at the couple, ran to confront them, threw Williams against a fence and handcuffed him in front of other officers, NBC News reported.
“I said, ‘What the f are you doing?'” Williams later recalled to WJBK-TV. “He’s like, ‘You’re not supposed to have this much money on you.’
“Everybody saw it, so that is embarrassing and humiliating,” he said.
The white officer, who has been with the department three years, eventually allowed the couple to go after Williams’ girlfriend presented him with a withdrawal receipt showing the funds came from her bank account.
Williams and his attorney, Todd Perkins, believe he was profiled because he is black. They are demanding the department take action.
The Detroit Police Department is investigating the incident internally. Assistant Police Chief James White says he isn’t going to place any blame until the details of the confrontation have been sorted out.
He told WJBK, “To say that there is a racial component, I’ve got someone in the bathroom with a very large sum of money — and inquiries to where he got the money. It’s not unreasonable to me.”
White explained, “One of the things I would be trying to find out is, at what point did the officer identify himself as a police officer. Because it is required by our policy. The second thing we would look at is, the large sum of money. Where did it come from, why did he have it?”