Police officers used unjustified and unreasonable force on a Black 16-year-old after a store manager racially profiled and called the police on him for being Black
9/23/2021 8:52:05 AM
[St. Paul] Following its investigation into two charges of discrimination, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) today announced the Brooklyn Center Police Department and Michaels Stores, Inc. violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act, the state’s civil rights law, for racial discrimination.
“The facts of this case are both shocking and unsurprising. There was no reason for Michaels to call the police. And no Black child should ever have to plead for their life from police,” said Minnesota Department of Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero. “What happened to this kid is a clear violation of his dignity and his civil rights. We can and must do better, especially when it comes to kids.”
“It’s unimaginable how the scariest day of my life started with applying for a job at Michaels. Police were called because of my skin color and they abused me to the point I thought I was going to die. No human should fear the police when we are taught that they are protectors. There should be some changes so this never happens again,” said the then 16-year-old.
In the determinations released today, MDHR found that in March 2019 a white store manager called the police on a Black 16-year-old who wanted to apply for a job at Michaels. The manager, who has a history of racially profiling Black customers, made false allegations to the police about the 16-year-old because of his race.
When three white officers from the Brooklyn Center Police Department arrived, they found a frightened and surprised Black 16-year-old who immediately raised his hands in the air. Rather than following their own policies and training, MDHR found that the officers immediately used unjustified and unreasonable force.
Throughout the encounter, the Black 16-year-old repeatedly pleaded, “I want to live,” “I want to grow up,” and “Don’t kill me.”
During its investigation, MDHR also found that body-worn camera footage contradicted reports and testimony provided by the police officers.
Under the Minnesota Human Rights Act, it is illegal for police departments and businesses to discriminate against someone because of their race.
MDHR will next seek structural change through a conciliated settlement agreement with the Brooklyn Center Police Department and Michaels Stores, Inc., as well as monetary relief for the then 16-year-old.
The Minnesota Department of Human Rights is the state's civil rights enforcement agency. If you have experienced or witnessed discrimination, call the Discrimination Helpline at 1-833-454-0148 or submit this online form.