‘Show Me Your Hands!’: South Carolina Cop Knew She Pulled Over the Wrong Vehicle But Still Decided to Pull Gun on Black High School Student and Treat Her Like a Car Thief, Video Shows

Seconds after pulling over a suspected stolen vehicle in early May, North Myrtle Beach police officer Kayla Wallace knew it was not the Dodge Charger they had been looking for because not only was it the wrong color, but it also had a different license plate number.

“Not it,” the South Carolina cop said to herself as she stepped out of her patrol car, according to footage from her body camera.

Meanwhile, another North Myrtle Beach cop named Mike Pacileo had pulled his patrol car in front of the suspected vehicle and was already out of his car, ordering the driver out at gunpoint.

South Carolina Cop Knew She Pulled Over the Wrong Vehicle But Still Decided to Pull Gun on Black High School Student and Treat Her Like a Car Thief, Video Shows
La’Nisha Hemingway was detained by North Myrtle Beach Police officers at gunpoint despite one of the cops realizing her vehicle did not fit the description of a suspected car thief. (Photo: YouTube screenshot/WPDE ABC15)

But rather than tell Pacileo they had stopped the wrong car, Wallace went along with the charade, pulling out her own gun and ordering the driver to “show me your hands,” forcing an 18-year-old Black woman named La’Nisha Hemingway out of her car at gunpoint.

“Walk backward to the sound of my voice,” Wallace ordered in an agitated tone. “Stop, get on your knees, stay there, put your hands behind your back.”

Hemingway, who had been on her way to meet friends at the beach to celebrate their upcoming graduation from North Myrtle Beach High School, was shocked, scared, and angry.

“What the hell!” Hemingway said while on her knees. “Can I call my mama?”

Meanwhile, Pacileo, who had driven into oncoming traffic to stop Hemingway’s car, was searching her car as though she was still oblivious that it was the wrong vehicle.

“I’m confused,” said Hemingway.

“We got a hit that your car was stolen,” Wallace responded, even though she knew it was the wrong car.

Taken aback by the accusation, Hemingway told the cops to check her registration to show it was not stolen, but the cops did not care.

“Your car was reported stolen, dude,” said Pacileo with a smug certainty. 

“Bro, let me call my mama,” Hemingway said. “You all didn’t read the tags? No, you all did not.”

The Lawsuit

Hemingway filed a federal lawsuit against the two officers on June 17, accusing them of false imprisonment, unlawful seizure, excessive force, recklessness, and negligent training. Also listed as a defendant is North Myrtle Beach Police Chief Dana Crowell, who last year became the department’s first female police chief in its 56-year history.

The incident took place on May 3 at around 7 p.m. after police received a report of a stolen car described as a silver Dodge Challenger — a two-door car — with a South Carolina license plate that read VLP 678. Hemingway, meanwhile, was driving a dark gray Dodge Charger — a four-door car — with a South Carolina plate that read VSW 736, according to the lawsuit obtained by Atlanta Black Star.

The two cops spotted Hemingway’s sedan from a distance and began speeding up to it, with lights flashing to pull it over. Wallace told dispatch she was preparing to conduct a “high-risk stop.”

But about 30 seconds later, after speeding up to the Charger and pulling up behind it, Wallace knew it was the wrong car, telling herself it was “not it.”

But Pacileo was already yelling, “Hands up! Hands out the window!” so Wallace apparently felt compelled to join him in treating Hemingway like a suspected criminal.

“Let me call my mama!” Hemingway persisted. “And you all got me in these f_cking handcuffs like I stole the car. And then you’re going to tell me to get down on my knees?”

Just over a minute after Hemingway was placed in handcuffs, Pacileo informs Wallace they had stopped the wrong car — and Wallace acts as if she is receiving the news for the first time.

“That’s not it?” she said before proceeding to remove the handcuffs from Hemingway. “Here’s what happened …” Wallace tried to explain, but Hemingway did not want to hear what she had to say.

“I don’t want to hear sh-t; let me go,” Hemingway said as she walked back to her car and climbed into the driver’s seat.

“Get the f–k out my way,” she yelled at Pacileo, who proceeded to move his car from in front of her car.

The Aftermath

During a press conference on June 18, Hemingway’s attorney, Tyler Bailey, told local media that the cops never asked for her license or registration, nor did they even bother asking for her name. He said the cops did not even file a report about the incident until several days later, which he said is a violation of the state’s Public Contact Report law that requires all traffic stops to be documented, even if they result in no citation or arrest.

The law states that “any time a motor vehicle is stopped by a state or local law enforcement officer without a citation being issued or an arrest being made, the officer who initiated the stop must complete a data collection form designed by the Department of Public Safety that must include information regarding the age, gender, and race or ethnicity of the driver of the vehicle.”

Bailey suggested to local media that Hemingway would probably have been treated differently had she been white.

“If that was anybody else, who I believe, that may have looked differently, there may have been a different respect that was shown,” he told WPDE-TV.

Hemingway’s uncle, Dr. Aaron Cox, told local media during a press conference on June 18 that he has been in law enforcement for more than 34 years, including as a South Carolina trooper, and is “very familiar with what should have happened.”

“The police didn’t do stuff right from the beginning,” Cox told WPDE-TV. “People that should have been her protectors treated her like less than a human.”

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