Due to a series of events that are hard to believe outside of a complex movie script, a man was wrongly profiled and arrested for the death of his cousin, one of the six Baton Rouge officers killed on July 17.
Damarcus Alexander and a friend stopped by a Walmart outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana on July 17th during a trip from Dallas, Texas to Belle Rose, LA, according to The Daily Beast.
Alexander and his friend went inside the Walmart, changed into their church clothes and hit the road again. Unbeknownst to them, a shopper called the police and reported two black men changing their clothes just moments after Gavin Long ambushed and shot six police officers in Baton Rouge. One of those officers, Montrell Jackson, was Alexander’s cousin.
A few miles down the road, the two were pulled over.
“Hey, you were just in the Walmart changing, right?” an officer asked them, according to Alexander. “You know what just happened in Baton Rouge? We already got the guy who did it, but we think that he probably didn’t work alone so we’re looking into you two.”
A dozen vehicles soon arrived with even more police officers filling the scene, all of whom were white. Luckily, Alexander had a receipt from a gas station to prove that he and his friend were not near the area where the shooting took place.
But that was not enough for the officers to rule them out as suspects.
“When we were detained, we asked for phone calls,” Alexander said. “We were not given phone calls.”
Alexander and his friend were then forced to live out a frustratingly difficult situation that could have easily been avoided. Further, Alexander has seven family members in Baton Rouge law enforcement and was concerned himself about the possibility that one of them may have been shot. While he was being detained, Alexander also needed to take his medicine for high blood pressure. The officers allegedly would not allow him to do so, for fear that Alexander would attempt suicide by taking too many pills.
“For hours they’re bringing me cookies, and peanuts, and crackers, and juice,” Alexander said. “That’s the exact opposite of what I need.”
He was then taken to a nearby hospital until authorities got video footage back from the convenience store to prove that he and his friend were actually 100 miles away at the time of the shooting.
“I’m really thankful that I wasn’t another hashtag,” said Alexander.
This is a glaring case of racial profiling, which occurs both when civilians report crimes and during arrests of those suspected – not to mention charged – of a crime. It is a shame that, of all people, the one to experience all of this was a relative of the victim police were attempting to avenge.