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Black Wisconsin Man Wrongfully Accused of Carjacking His Grandma as He Rode In the Backseat of Car in Mostly White Town; Cops Say It’s a ‘Big Misunderstanding’

A Black Wisconsin Man claims he was racially profiled and wrongfully detained by a Wisconsin police officer while riding in a car with his grandmother and friend, who were white.

Akil K. Carter, his grandmother Paulette H. Barr, and family friend Sandra K. Adams filed a federal civil rights lawsuit for the 2018 ordeal. The case reached the trial stage this week.

Carter was with Barr and Adams in a Lexus on their way to lunch on Sept. 2, 2018, when Officer Patrick Kaine pulled them over, suspecting the Black male was not part of the party.

Akil Carter
Wauwatosa police detain Akil-Carter in September 2018. (Wauwatosa Police Department)

Attorney for plaintiffs Joy Bertrand told the court the “foundation of this case is freedom” and that citizens are protected by law from “unreasonable seizure.” Police must have reasonable suspicion that a crime is afoot,” and that in this case, based on the facts, there were none.

The fate of the discrimination case is in the hands of an all-white jury of four women and three men. Named in the lawsuit are the city of Wauwatosa, Police Chief Barry Weber, Officers Patrick Kaine, Luke Vetter, Nicole Gabriel, Derek Dienhard, and John Does 1-3 and Jane Does 1-3, the Milwaukee Journal reports.

Bertrand told the jurors her then-18-year-old client’s Fourth Amendment rights were violated by officers in the city’s police department, WISN reported.

Kaine said he was told by an unknown Black third-party witness, who was driving “a blue Chevrolet with an African-American woman,” that “two African-American males had hijacked a blue Lexus.”

The officer says he believed, at the time, Carter could have been one of the thugs allegedly carjacking the two women.

The complaint alleges the cop targeted Carter because he was Black and was with two older women, noting the three were traveling through the “racially segregated” Wauwatosa, a small town with a population of 82.4 percent white, 5.65 percent Black, and 4.14 percent Asians.

Within minutes of the stop, other officers “swarmed to the scene,” court documents state, and ordered Carter to get on the ground and told him to get down on his knees before he was handcuffed. After this, Carter was placed in a patrol vehicle and interrogated.

Video footage shows an officer saying to Carter, while he is in the car, “I’m guessing what this sounds like is a big misunderstanding.”

Shortly thereafter, Barr and Adams explained to Kaine that they were not in danger and Carter was a relative spending the day with them. In all, Carter was detained for six minutes. However, the entire ordeal lasted 11 minutes.

During the first day of court, the grandmother and friend testified that they were clueless about why the car was stopped.

Kaine, on the other hand, talked about how the concerned “tipster” made a U-turn to tell him about the alleged robbery at the upcoming intersection. The officer said the man did not give details but was “adamant” that a carjacking was taking place.

Police dashcam video did not capture the mystery witness to the crime but captured Kaine barking orders at Carter, telling the teen to walk backward toward the other officers who had arrived on the scene, and pulling out his .40 caliber Glock service weapon.

It also showed the moment Kaine learned from the grandmother what was going on and the officer apologizing for moving so swiftly with the bad information he received from the “tipster.”

In court, Kaine explained over his almost three-decade career, he has encountered other people who had given him false reports, stating some of them were discovered to have suffered from mental illness.

If the trial goes in their favor, the plaintiffs are asking the court to award Carter damages for the emotional distress and trauma he has experienced over the last four and a half years. The family is also asking for the city to reform its “policies, practices, and procedures to prevent like actions and harms in the future.”

Should the plaintiffs win the case, it would be the first time a Wauwatosa officer has been disciplined for his or her actions associated with a traffic stop. The lawsuit alleges, “When the plaintiffs asked Chief Weber for a formal investigation of the incident, he refused.”

As for now, all officers involved in this incident are still employed by the city.

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