Illinois Man Sues After Police Mistake His Daughter’s Ashes For Drugs During Traffic Stop

Springfield cops unsealed the urn carrying the remains of his two-year-old child.

New body camera video sheds light on an incident involving Illinois police officers who allegedly unsealed an urn containing the ashes of a Black man’s daughter and spilled her remains.

Newschannel 20 reported on May 11 that it obtained video of officers in Springfield, Illinois pulling over Dartavious Barnes on April 6, 2020 and searching his vehicle.

RELATED: Black Woman, 68, Files Excessive Force Lawsuit Against North Carolina Cops After Alleged Violent Traffic Stop

The officers suspected Barnes of carrying illegal drugs in the urn and spilled the ashes while testing for narcotics.

“No, no, no, bro, that’s my daughter,” Barnes yelled to officers about the ashes of his 2-year-old daughter, Ta’Naja Barnes, who died in February 2019. “What y’all doing, bro? That’s my daughter.”

Barnes filed a federal lawsuit in October, accusing the officer of conducting an unlawful search without his consent, warrant for probable cause.

According to the cops, they pulled over Barnes for speeding at a location where gunfire was reported. They handcuffed him and placed him in the back of the police vehicle.

An officer obtained Barnes’ permission to search the vehicle. Barnes admitted to having marijuana in the car, which the cops found in addition to what they suspected was ecstasy or meth in the urn.

"I have seen similar items like this before utilized to contain narcotics," the officer wrote in the incident report.

An officer told Barnes the container tested positive for meth or ecstasy. Barnes protested when they told him they were referring to the contents of the urn.

That’s when Barnes yelled, "No, that's my daughter."

They tested the urn’s contents a second time, and decided they believed him, the news outlet reported.

"I'm just gonna give him a notice to appear on the weed," one of the cops said.

"OK, aside from pissing off dad and testing the dead baby ashes," the other officer responded.

Latest News

Subscribe for BET Updates

Provide your email address to receive our newsletter.

By clicking subscribe, I agree to receive newsletters, marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers), and other information from BET and the Paramount family of companies. For more information about our data practices, consult our Privacy Policy.