This one is hard to believe. A black man, committing no crime other than walking down the street to his house…
Gets stopped for having his hands in his pockets on a 30 degree day.
A black Michigan man who was stopped by a sheriff’s deputy after walking with his hands in his pockets said he believes he was the victim of racial discrimination.
The local sheriff says the deputy acted appropriately, and that the video of the incident doesn’t show the full story.
Brandon McKean, 25, told The Huffington Post he was in the middle of walking a mile from a friend’s house in Pontiac, Michigan to his own home to eat dinner around 4:30 p.m. on Thursday. The temperature had hovered around freezing that day, and he had his hands in his pockets.
McKean had been walking for just a few minutes, he said, when an Oakland County sheriff’s deputy drove up, got out of the car and questioned him. McKean began filming with his phone.
“You were walking by … well you were making people nervous,” the deputy says in the video McKean recorded, above. “They said you had your hands in your pockets.”
“Wow, walking by having your hands in your pockets makes people nervous to call the police, when it’s snowing outside?” McKean responds.
“They did,” the deputy says. “I’m just checking on you.”
McKean posted the video on Facebook, intending to show a few friends what he considered an absurd and unjustified stop by police. But it quickly went viral, with many outraged commenters sharing the post. By Tuesday, the video had been seen more than 3 million times, according to Facebook’s stats, and had circulated widely, from Gawker to “The Colbert Report.”
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard forcefully objected to the version of the incident that comes across when McKean’s clip is viewed on its own, saying it doesn’t clarify the reason for the stop and leaves out context. McKean’s video cuts off before the end of their conversation, when the deputy further explains why he stopped McKean and the importance of following up on any 911 call.
The video “was posted with an agenda,” Bouchard told HuffPost.
The sheriff said that before McKean was questioned, a business owner called 911, audibly frightened, about a man who had walked by the shop six or seven times looking in the windows with his hands in his pockets. The caller believed the man was casing the business and that a robbery could be imminent. The business and its employees had reportedly already been robbed seven times.
Bouchard would not name the deputies who were dispatched nor the business, but said they had determined the person the 911 caller described was McKean, “without question.” After the furor over the video, the sheriff’s office posted their own video, which the deputy had also recorded with a phone.