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Des Moines Pays $25K to Driver Who Taped Encounter With White Officer Who Pulled Him Over For No Reason

The Des Moines Police Department settled a lawsuit with a Black driver after he claimed an officer pulled him over without reason on Dec. 6, 2017.

Iowa resident Lonnie Porter was on his way home after stopping by QuikTrip to purchase a Gatorade. However, while on his way home he spotted a nearby police officer and predicted that he’d be pulled over moments before it happened.

Porter pulled out his camera phone and began recording on Facebook Live after Officer Sean O’Neill stopped him for allegedly not being able to read Porter’s temporary tag. The 41-year-old driver called the cop’s bluff and indicated the paper license tag displayed on the back of the window of his new car.

“You can’t see the date?” Porter asked Officer O’Neill.

After the eight-minute traffic stop, O’Neill lets Porter go without a citation.

Des Moines attorney Brandon Brown, who represents Porter, told the Des Moines Register that this was a case of racial profiling and the city’s failed acknowledgment of so is “a pervasive and deeply troubling” issue.

“Some people may be dismissive since the detention was for such a short period of time and no arrest was made,” Brown noted. “But the problem is much larger. It’s extremely unsettling that law-abiding African Americans must endure a constant fear of being stopped when they get behind the wheel of a car.”

Des Moines Sgt. Paul Parizek said the case should not be considered a case of racial discrimination or profiling because it is not mentioned in legal proceedings. He also stated  that “O’Neill has an outstanding performance record.”

“[He] has no pending complaints or administrative reviews,” said Parizek. “For what it’s worth, I know Sean and have seen his work. He is professional, acts with integrity and is sincere in his commitment to serving our community.”

Porter will be paid $25,000 for his traffic stop lawsuit. The city, which is approximately 10 percent African-American, has yet to admit any wrongdoing.

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