Officer Resigns After Stopping Black Man For Allegedly Looking At A White Woman ‘Suspiciously’
History keeps repeating itself.
Update (August 28, 2019): Royal Oak police officer Michael Pilcher quit on Friday, just two weeks after stopping a Black man for looking at a woman “suspiciously.”
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The case garnered national attention when a video of the incident was posted to Facebook by Kimiko Adolph. Devin Myers was walking to get food on August 13 when he was stopped for more than 20 minutes by Pilcher.
Fox 2 Detroit reported the 20-year-old was stopped by Pilcher after a white woman called 911 and told them that he was “looking at her suspiciously.”
The Royal Oak Police Department released the 911 tape.
In the recording, a woman can be heard telling the operator that Myers was "just staring at me" and "it’s … making me feel not very comfortable at all."
She said he "came up right behind me as I was getting into my vehicle."
Video cameras from the restaurant and nearby stores simply showed Myers walking from his car to the restaurant.
Police Chief Corrigan O’Donohue announced Pilcher's decision at a city council meeting. He told The Detroit News that he apologized to Myers and that Pilcher resigned “when faced with the consequences of his actions.”
Pilcher had no right to stop Myers and ask for his identification, which is what made the situation worse.
"What would have been a two-minute encounter was dragged out because of that," the chief told The Detroit News two weeks ago. “He got a missile lock on that, and he couldn’t come of it.”
The Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality has come out forcefully against the Royal Oak Police Department, demanding action and a response from local officials.
“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 spokesman Kenneth Reed.
"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.”
Original: A Black man was stopped by the police after a white woman called 911 to complain about him looking at her.
The incident occurred on Tuesday afternoon and was caught on video by Kimiko Adolph. According to Adolph’s commentary, Devin Myers was walking down a street in Royal Oak, Michigan, when he was approached by the police. The officers were there because a white woman said Myers “looked at her suspiciously,” reports Fox 2 Detroit.
According to Adolph, Myers was heading to the Inn Season Café to get some food. Meanwhile, the white woman who made the call was sitting in a parking lot across the street watching everything go down.
Adolph refused to leave the scene because she feared for Myers’ safety.
“I’m not going to leave a brother out here,” Adolph said on the video.
The white woman standing next to Myers in the video is the owner of the café.
The officers told her they were obligated to come if someone calls, but she explained why the situation was problematic.
“If that were me walking across the street or walking in, this would not be happening because I was looking while I was trying to park,” the woman said.
The police supervisor accused the owner and Adolph of “inferring a lot.”
"We came from 13 and Woodward for nonsense," the supervisor said. "All you have to do is say 'you know what? I'm just parking my car, minding my own business.' And you know what? He'd be eating right now."
Adolph and the owner verified Myers did what he suggested. The supervisor dismissed the women and said the incident wasn’t “a big deal.”
Myers eventually received his meal from the café for free, according to The Detroit Metro Times.
The Royal Oak Police Department launched an internal investigation after the responding officers’ behavior drew outrage from concerned citizens.
"We are in the process of evaluating what mistakes have been made and we will own them, we will learn from them, and we will continue to strive to be better in everything we do," Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier said in a statement.
Fournier also claimed his city was welcoming to everyone despite the troubling incident.
"We are passionate about being a city that lives and acts according to our values and one where all people from all walks of life, from all racial and ethnic backgrounds feel not just safe, but welcome and embraced as members of our community," he added.
The mayor acknowledged the need to fight against racial bias.
"We absolutely recognize that racial bias exists and we as a community aspire to be among those working every day to combat it,” Fournier concluded. “But this is not just the work of our officers and public officials alone, but all of us, individually [and] as a community must put in the effort to recognize and come to terms with our own personal prejudices and biases."
Royal Oak Police would not speak on the incident due to the investigation.