A Maryland man’s good deed of helping an intoxicated neighbor into his home ended with his arrest in an incident critics are calling a clear case of racial profiling.
Viral video posted to Instagram shows 23-year-old Samir Ahmed being arrested by four Montgomery County police officers in response to a call about a drunken man who needed medical aid. In the clip, several neighbors in the Washington suburb are heard shouting to police they have the wrong person, yet an officer insists Ahmed is the one under the influence.
“Actually, he was helping the person who was under the influence,” a man recording the Nov. 17 incident says. “So why are you detaining him?”
“He lives here! This is our neighbor!” a woman chimes in. “He’s not under the influence. The man was unconscious on the floor over here. Why aren’t you helping the person who needs help?”
As angry witnesses continue to press officers on the reason for Ahmed’s arrest, one of the officer’s replies, “We don’t answer to you,” and proceeds to pin the handcuffed man to the back of a car.
Recalling that events of that day, Ahmed told WUSA 9 he arrived home around 11:15 a.m. and found a drunk man passed out near his front yard. According to an Instagram post, he picked the man up and walked him home. The young man said he was met by police upon returning to his own home, as someone had dialed 911 for the man he just helped.
“It was a man that was out here that was unconscious. He helped the man,” a man in the video explains.
It wasn’t until several minutes into a heated back-and-forth with neighbors that officers explained why Ahmed was being placed under arrest: “The little that I know right now, and I’m going to figure out the rest at the station, is that they came up here for the fire rescue call and this guy happened to be in the area and the officer smelled an odor of marijuana coming from him.”
The suspicion of marijuana prompted police to search Ahmed, but law enforcement officers claimed he refused and gave them a hard time about it. The young man was later arrested on charges of resisting arrest and disorderly conduct, among other charges, according to WUSA 9.
Ahmed admitted to having a small amount of marijuana on him, which he said he received a citation for.
“It was such a small amount that I didn’t even know I had it,” he told HuffPost.
Ahmed, who’s Black, said he believed things would’ve have gone much differently if he were white, arguing he knew without a doubt” that “race played a factor” in his arrest.
“Because I know if I was blond with blue eyes it wouldn’t have mattered,” he added.
Ahmed said he knows at least three neighbors who’ve filed complaints against the Montgomery County Police Department since the incident.
His first court appearance is scheduled for January.
Watch more in the video below.