When a Black U.S. Army veteran locked himself out of his California home, he and the Hispanic neighbor trying to help him ended up detained by a deputy.
Unbeknownst to the veteran, Ed Dowdy, his neighbor’s daughter had tripped a burglar alarm in the neighbor’s home Sunday, Fox 40 reported.
So when Dowdy asked the neighbor identified only as Omar to borrow his phone to call a locksmith, a Sacramento County sheriff’s deputy showed up to their gated community, the news station reported.
Dowdy said the first question the deputy asked was: “‘Any of you guys on probation or parole?’”
Omar, who owned a cleaning business, said it caught both him and Dowdy off guard.
“Like, do we look like criminals or something?” Omar asked Fox 40 rhetorically. “And to me, I feel like he made up in his mind who we were at that moment.”
Omar’s Ring security camera was recording when he said the deputy refused to let him go inside the home to get his driver’s license, Fox 40 reported.
“I told him, ‘I’ve got my ID in the house. My wife and kids are inside. Do you want me to go get it? I can go get it,’” Omar told the news station. “He said, ‘No, I’ll write it down.’ And I even spelled out my name, my last name, gave him my date of birth. He went to go check.”
When he returned, he said he couldn’t find Omar in the system, handcuffed both men and told them they were being detained, Fox 40 reported.
“You’re out here, outside of a home where an alarm went off, right? You guys are just standing out here and your name isn’t very good,” the deputy can be heard saying in the security footage. “Well, I have reasonable suspicion to believe that a crime is being committed, right? So, I can detain people.”
“We asked for the supervisor,” Omar told Fox 40. “He’s like, ‘I don’t got to call him. I’m not going to waste his time.'”
Dowdy told the news station the deputy was “belligerent” and searched him “without my consent.”
“And he said, ‘No, you don’t go nowhere either because I got to detain you,'” Dowdy said. “I said, ‘For what? For having a conversation out here?'”
The men weren’t released until Omar’s wife came outside to provide ID and a sergeant checked the alarm call, according to Fox 40.
Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Sgt. Tess Deterding said in a statement emailed to Atlanta Black Star Wednesday that the video is “insufficient in terms of drawing a conclusion.”
“Just based on the video, I think it’s abundantly clear we could have done a better job at customer service, and that will be addressed,” Deterding said. “A full internal investigation to gather all of the facts is underway.”
Deterding also said “it does not appear there is any violation of policy or law” but that someone has filed a complaint in the incident.
“There will be an investigation by our Professional Standards Division related to whether or not the Sheriff’s Deputy violated any policy or law during this call for service,” Deterding said.