TAMPA, FL – Her video went viral. People started bashing the police. And then the truth came out.
A 23-year-old woman named Jonesha Wilkerson accused a Tampa police officer of police harassment after the officer stopped her for driving a stolen vehicle. On June 18, a Tampa police officer conducted a high-risk traffic stop on the woman. Wilkerson later accused the police officer of harassment.
The story unfolds: the officer held his service weapon at the low ready while he stood behind the driver’s door and waiting for backup. Wilkerson was cooperative with the commands from the officer.
Wilkerson made a video on her Instagram of the traffic stop and accused the officer of pointing his weapon at her head. Wilkerson also accused the officer of smashing her against the car which of course proved to not be true, reported by ABC Action News on YouTube.
Chief Brian Dugan supported the officer on the stop by explaining the officer’s stance of holding his weapon at the low ready, as reported by ABC Action News on YouTube.
Chief Dugan stated the low ready is a position officers use in potentially dangerous situation. The weapon can be easily raised from this position if the officer needs to defend themselves or others.
It can also easily be re-holstered.
Wilkerson said in the Instagram video:
“I told him numerous times I can get out the car and I’m not arm yet he still pointed his gun at me I was scared and in fear with my life …”
Her video went viral causing an outcry in Tampa. She reportedly has taken the Instagram post down, but it can be seen below.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that Wilkerson was detained but quickly released after she told the police her friend let her borrow the car.
Wilkerson explained to the Tampa Bay Times that her friend was financing the car but did not pay the bill.
This contradicts her story to Tampa Bay Times.
Surveillance video from the Hertz rental store at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport reveals that Wilkerson used a stolen credit card to rent the black Nissan Altima on June 2.
After Wilkerson did not return the vehicle on June 6, the Hertz store attempted to contact her finding that the credit card was stolen, and she provided a false phone number.
Hertz then filed a stolen vehicle report with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office on June 18, reported by the Tampa Patch.
That is when Tampa Police spotted the vehicle and Wilkerson’s traffic stop video went viral.
Pinellas County Detectives were able to determine that Wilkerson used her friend’s driver’s license and the same false phone number on the rental car forms. The credit card number was stolen from a woman in Indiana.
The woman did not know it was stolen because she still had it in her possession.
According to the Tampa Patch, Wilkerson paid her friend $200 to use their license.
Once Tampa Police became aware of the video, they released the bodycam footage that refuted a lot of what Wilkerson said about what happened during the traffic stop, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The video revealed that the officer spoke nicely to Wilkerson and her friend. Both women cooperated in the traffic stop.
The department mistakenly did not redact Wilkerson’s personally identifiable information from the video, and it was taken down.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida has requested an investigation into the error and claimed Tampa police put Wilkerson in danger by releasing her address and telephone number, reported by the Tampa Bay Times.
Wilkerson told ABC Action News that she felt the police were not concerned about her personal well-being when they “blasted her personal information out.”
Wilkerson presented a speech at the Black Lives Matter rally on July 24 and accused the Tampa Police of harassment.
Wilkerson was arrested for failure to return a leased vehicle and fraudulent use of a credit card, reported by Tampa Bay Times. She was arrested on July 28 in Riverview, Florida. She posted $10,000 bail and released from Hillsborough County Jail, according to the Tampa Patch.
It’s amazing how often bodycam footage will clear officers. Look at what happened recently in Seattle, for example.
A claim made on social media by an alleged victim of hurled insults in mid-May slandered the likes of a police officer in Seattle. The officer was responding to a call where the victim was upset for being called rude names by another driver in a parking lot.
While the individual who was upset because someone said means things to him, he claimed online that the police officer was both rude and dismissive toward him. Turns out, the individual was blatantly lying about the officer’s response.
The nonsensical complaint against the police officer originated back May of this year when Kert Lin had some kind of a verbal spat with someone in a Home Depot parking lot located in the SoDo area of Seattle.
According to Lin, the individual with whom he was dealing with had stated the following to him:
“Chink open your eyes go back to China.”
So, Lin decided to call 911 after someone said something demonstrably rude to him.
Now, many people must be wondering why someone would call 911 because they were called a rude name.
Well, that’s because Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best actually released a public service announcement on March 30th of this year instructing people to dial 911 if they get called a racist name.
According to the PSA released on Twitter, it was captioned with the following above the video:
“Washington State is no place for hate. In a show of solidarity, @LoriMatsukawa joined me to remind everyone that hate has no place in our community. Report hate, including racist name calling, to 911. We are here to help, and will respond to investigate.”
Washington State is no place for hate. In a show of solidarity, @LoriMatsukawa joined me to remind everyone that hate has no place in our community. Report hate, including racist name calling, to 911. We are here to help, and will respond to investigate. #WeGotThisSeattle pic.twitter.com/cFGkYopbVW
— Chief Carmen Best (@carmenbest) March 31, 2020
After the incident, Lin took to Facebook to not only complain that he was called a rude name in a parking lot – but also admonished the police officer who responded to his 911 call:
“I called Seattle Police Department. Officer Jones responded and said no crime was committed, that man was exercising his first amendment rights. No law broken, no report taken.”
Apparently, the alleged offense of the officer not taking a report of name calling upset the likes of Lin, to which his post continued with the following:
“I pressed on this. I asked what the community response would be. Officer Jones said he knew of no directive from HQ or SPD regarding racism, particularly racism toward Asian Americans. I asked multiple times and he outright lied every time. I discovered that ALL SPD officers have signed off indicating they understand the SPD protocol, which is ANY TIME A 911 CALL IS MADE REGARDING RACIAL HARASSMENT, AN INCIDENT REPORT MUST BE MADE.”
Interestingly, Lin claimed that released body cam footage would support his claims made on the post he put on Facebook back in May.
Well, guess what got recently released and also happens to debunk many of Lin’s claim?
The body cam footage, of course.
A Seattle kindergarten teacher's claims about an interaction with police over a bias incident went viral. Much of what he wrote isn't true, bodycam footage reveals.
— (((Jason Rantz))) on KTTH Radio (@jasonrantz) July 7, 2020
Officer Jones didn’t proclaim anywhere during the interaction that “he knew of no directive from HQ or SPD regarding racism” – he simply said that he couldn’t speak on the behalf of the department on matters related to the aforementioned.
Not to mention, despite Lin using his online post to express some form of outrage at the officer’s response to him being called rude names, the police officer was actually extremely sympathetic in his response.
While the officer kindly explained that there wasn’t much he could do in terms of arresting someone for them making rude comments, he agreed that what happened to Lin shouldn’t have happened.
Furthermore, a report was in fact filed and at no time did Lin press the officer as to whether reports were needed to be taken or not during the interaction.
The irony in all this is the portion of Lin’s May 15th post that stated the following:
“Request the footage. You will see how many times I asked, re-asked, re-phrased my question about SPD protocol, and you will see time and time again, Officer Jones outright lying.”
Watching the video, the officer never “outright” lied about anything. He simply explained that he wasn’t able to enact an arrest.
Sounds a lot like a story we reported last week out of Virginia.
Another day, another cop being accused of being a racist. You know, when racism is found in everything, true racism tends to get lost in the shuffle.
The latest example is brought to you from Herndon, Virginia, where a school resource officer is being accused of racial profiling, as well as filing a false police report in connection with an incident that occurred last September on a Fairfax county Public Schools bus.
Along with members of the Fairfax County NAACP, a Herndon Middle School parent held a press conference last Tuesday in which they accused School Resource Officer M.F. Murn of filing a false police report in connection with the Sept. 20 incident, the Herndon Patch reported.
The parent, Sandra Barksdale or Reston, Virginia said that her 13-year-old son Khaleaf Ali was allegedly attacked by another student on the bus ride home from school.
“From this assault my son suffered a concussion, which required him to miss school, seek medical treatment, and has disrupted our lives in many ways,” said Barksdale.
“Dealing with the Herndon Police Department and Fairfax County Schools, however, has been an even bigger nightmare than hearing that your child has been attacked.”
Barksdale is claiming lack of medical attention for her son, and also claims that the school blamed her son for the incident, although she claims he was not the aggressor. Typical “not my boy” scenario.
“For months I have tried to find a way to handle this privately through the school, and for months I have been given the runaround,” she said, while adding that she is afraid to send her son back to the school in the fall.
Barksdale asked for and received a copy of the police report, and also the opportunity to view a video of the incident. The report was heavily redacted (understandably due to ages) and there was no audio available on the video replay of the school bus surveillance video.
Barksdale met with the SRO, as well as the NAACP education chair Dr. Sujatha Hampton to review the video. Aside from those three, others watching the video was Ali, the principal of the school Justine Klena and Regional Superintendent Douglas Tyson.
To be very clear, I made absolutely no mention of race in my remarks which can be found on @FairfaxNAACP FB page. I didn’t mention the race of any person involved with this case, not child not adult. It is a distraction. Don’t be distracted. https://t.co/IPywhDSAgr
— Sujatha Hampton (@SujathaHampton) June 30, 2020
Hampton said the video clearly showed Ali getting assaulted from behind by another boy, saying, “At no time does he get up or fight back. It was not a quick punch, rather it was a protracted beating. All of us who viewed the video agreed with this assessment, including the principal.
A second meeting was held with Munn, the SRO in October at police headquarters, in order to discuss the findings of the investigation.
So, let’s get this straight. The initial incident occurs on Sept. 20. By Oct. 9, Barksdale has already contacted the NAACP to get involve in the case, less than three weeks after the initial incident. It appears that Barksdale was looking for attention and not letting the investigation run is normal course.
Speaking of the October 15 meeting, Hampton said, “At this meeting to my utter astonishment, Officer Murn told Ms. Barksdale that her son, Khaleaf, was the perpetrator of the assault,” Hampton said at a press conference, while adding that the video did show Khaleaf taunting the other boy.
“He further said Khaleaf’s posture, sitting with his legs across the aisle, blocked the boy’s exit, suggesting that the reason Khaleaf was the perpetrator was because he teased the other boy and he could not have moved away if he wanted to.”
Hampton disagreed with this assessment, calling it outrageous and said that “taunting and teasing” is different from “punching someone repeatedly in the head and the neck.”
When Hampton questioned Murn about the investigation, the officer reiterated what his investigation revealed. When Hampton continued to browbeat him, the became openly hostile and angry, according to Hampton.
She and Barksdale didn’t fare better with the school administration, with the principal of the school referring to the police report to justify her decision that Ali had instigated the incident.
Hampton got the president of the Hampton and Fairfax County NAACP president involved, with the president of that organization issuing demands that Ali be given classes that he missed during the school year, and also asked that the SRO be reassigned and made to apologize.
Herndon Police Chief Maggie DeBoard responded to the accusations made against the officer and the department.
‘I could not be more outraged and disgusted about the false narrative being perpetuated by Ms. Barksdale and the NAACP to further an agenda to remove SROs from the schools as communicated at a press conference earlier today at Herndon Middle School,” DeBoard said.
The NAACP, as with many so-called “police reform” groups across the country such as Black Lives Matter have been seeking to remove police officers from schools, with Perryman, the NAACP president specifically mentioning county schools for removal during the press conference.
“We put out a list of eight police reforms that we are calling for and that’s one of our items. The reason for that is we see the same disproportionality that we see nationwide where Black students, disabled students, Laninx students are disproportionately arrested by the police and punished by them…so we don’t believe the SROs need to be in the school system.”
DeBoard specifically mentioned Murn as an officer to be commended, saying that he has spent a large part of his career helping youth in the community and in the schools, and condemned him being falsely accused.
In reviewing the case, DeBoard said, in part:
“My officer conducted a thorough investigation and reviewed both video footage from the bus and that footage from the bus does not contain audio, as well as interviewed numerous other students who were on the bus and in a position to witness the incident.”
DeBoard noted that the school bus video comprised only part of the investigation and did not give the complete picture of the incident.
The chief noted that the fact showed Ali to be the instigator and that he had initiated physical contact with the other student. In fact, she said that Ali was “inciting him to fight, calling him several derogatory names, including racial slurs.”
She noted that witnesses corroborated those facts, and all describe the incident in similar fashion.
Chief DeBoard said all of the facts and circumstances were presented to the Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney who declined to prosecute, saying the incident didn’t rise to a criminal level. The attorney said they would not prosecute either of the boys due to their ages and the facts involved in the case.
Despite that, people are alleging that Ali was “criminalized” for the incident:
We’re out here at Herndon Middle School with @FairfaxNAACP supporting Sandra and Khaleaf Barksdale following an incident involving the criminalization of her son after he was attacked on the bus. pic.twitter.com/6uKylsroSZ
— SURJ NoVa (@SURJ_NoVa) June 30, 2020
The officer presented the facts of the case to the Commonwealth Attorney, who refused to prosecute. That didn’t matter however:
Hampton says in a meeting the SRO, Officer M.F. Murn, became aggressive toward her and insisted the beating was Khaleaf’s fault. This officer attempted to have Khaleaf prosecuted by the Commonwealth Attorney. #PoliceFreeSchools
— SURJ NoVa (@SURJ_NoVa) June 30, 2020
“The allegations presented by Ms. Barksdale to not align with the facts of this investigation,” DeBoard said, while adding that Ali was never charged nor arrested. “Nor was there any intention by the officer to arrest him.”
In fact, the chief said the case was already closed by the Oct. 15 meeting. She also said that Barksdale never notified the police department that her son had been injured in the altercation.
DeBoard denied that officer Murn treated Hampton and Barksdale unprofessionally and denied that there was any type of threatening behavior by the officer. She said Murn had his body-worn camera on during the interview.
DeBoard also slammed the false allegations made against her department and her officer.
“What is most upsetting to me as a police chief and a leader in this profession and certainly throughout this state is this false narrative is distracting from the really real issues that demand our attention for meaningful reform throughout our profession on a national level. That’s where our attention needs to be. It is false allegations like this that truly hinder our ability to make progress. Progress both sides need to achieve.”
Chief DeBoard released a video of the interview, which totally exposes the claims of Hampton and Barksdale as false. Nowhere on the video is the Officer Murn shown as “openly hostile and angry,” nor did he point his finger in her face “in a controlled rage.” Lies, and damn lies.
When you see racism everywhere, true racism gets overlooked. Or, if you cry wolf too many times, nobody believes you.