ROYAL OAK, Mich. – A civil rights group is demanding that a Detroit police officer be terminated from the force after he responded to a call of a suspicious person circling a woman’s car.
Because his response to the call was apparently racist.
Officer Michael Pilcher responded to the parking lot outside of the Inn Season Cafe on August 13 after a female caller complained that a man had been “just staring at me” and circling her car, according to a 911 recording that the department released.
— Brian Abel (@BrianAbelTV) August 14, 2019
Police say they came in contact with Devin Myers, who reportedly verbally objected to being stopped and questioned by the officer while he tried to piece together what was going on. A video from a passerby shows the officers speaking with Myers, who was upset for being stopped. He told the officer that he wasn’t circling the woman’s car, but was merely looking for a place to park. The officers stopped him as he was walking into a restaurant.
The officer then asked for Myers to produce identification. That’s where he apparently went too far.
Now the activist group wants Officer Pilcher fired.
“The situation in which Mr. Myers found himself — an African-American man accused of ‘suspicious behavior’ by a Caucasian woman as he merely attempted to have a meal at a local restaurant — is all too familiar,” said Kenneth Reed, spokesman for the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality.
According to the group, the entire situation was perpetuated by racial issues. First, the caller, then the officer. The group says Pilcher shouldn’t have investigated the incident and should have just let Myers go after he gave his story.
“For Probationary Officer Pilcher to even give credence to her alarmist call by demanding Myers’ identification and holding him at all is worthy of his dismissal. He failed his probation, and all law enforcement departments must have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior. If we allow such a culture to persist, we continue to feed the beast of systemic and institutional racism that has continuously fought against any kind of equal protection of citizens’ rights.”
If this is really more of an issue of the caller’s perception of the scenario, why is the officer being blamed for doing his job? What if he had ignored the call and something horrible had happened? Then would we be demanding the officer’s job over his failure to perform his duties?
This seems like people should be more upset with the profiling woman for calling than for the officers for performing their usual duties.
Cops can’t win either way.
Did you know that Law Enforcement Today has a private new home for those who support emergency responders and veterans? It’s called LET Unity, and it’s where we share the untold stories of those patriotic Americans. Every penny gets reinvested into giving these heroes a voice. Check it out today.
Royal Oak Police Chief Corrigan O’Donahue made a public apology to Myers for his roughly 20-minute encounter with the officer, who is currently on probation. O’Donahue said Pilcher needed more training.
“What would have been a two-minute encounter was dragged out because of that,” the chief said in an interview with The Detroit News.
HAPPENING NOW: 20 year old Devin Myers SPEAKS OUT after a woman called police claiming he was acting “suspiciously.” Today, he & an attorney met w/ Chief, to file formal COMPLAINT. He says he feels RACIALLY PROFILED & won’t return to Royal Oak. @wxyzdetroit #5:30PM pic.twitter.com/ADzIdsJjkl
— Simon Shaykhet WXYZ (@simonshaykhet) August 15, 2019
The Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality said Officer Pilcher violated Myers’ constitutional rights. They said it mimicked of “a long history of African American males being falsely accused by white women of suspicious or inappropriate sexual behavior, the most egregious being the tragic story of Emmett Till, who was lynched for allegedly ‘whistling’ at a Caucasian woman in Mississippi.”
The attorney general issued a statement about the community’s concerns.
“If ever there are concerns that the civil rights of Michigan residents have been violated, our office stands ready to investigate and pursue such matters,” AG Dana Nessel said.
She has directed the Civil Rights Division of the department to investigate the response to the incident.
It’s unclear whether the department will take further action against the officer, but the department confirmed both Pilcher and another officer from the scene are being disciplined.