An officer was fired after getting caught on video allegedly racially profiling two Black men outside of a store where they were shopping.
Aaron Blackwell and Durell Cunningham were accused of “being suspicious” by a Lawrence Township deputy constable, whose name has not been released, after they left a Nordstrom Rack in Castleton, Indiana, on Nov. 12, RTV6 Indianapolis reports.
Blackwell recorded the entire exchange, which lasted approximately 17 minutes, and included the deputy constable, who was acting as a security guard, saying, “I got my rights to do anything I want to do, I’m a police officer,” RTV6 reports.
“I just feel violated from my rights and how he went about the situation, it wasn’t professional,” Cunningham told RTV6.
According to Cunningham, both men were shopping inside the store when they noticed the security guard watching them. He reportedly continued watching them as they checked out, but did not approach them inside the store, RTV6 reports.
The men were then followed outside of the store by the deputy constable, who watched them get into their vehicle. Blackwell started to record the incident from the passenger’s seat after noticing the deputy constable was following them, RTV6 reports.
Cunningham, who was driving, drove back around to the front of the store when the men saw the officer got into his vehicle and started driving towards them. Once in front of the store, he jumped out of his car and approached Cunningham and Blackwell, RTV6 reports.
“You either get your license out or I’ll call for backup,” the deputy constable could be heard saying in the video.
“What do you need my ID for?” Cunningham asked him.
“Because you want to run your mouth to me,” the deputy constable responded.
Cunningham told RTV6, “There was no need to ask me for my driver’s license. He didn’t pull me over for an infraction or anything.”
Cunningham added, “He said we were doing suspicious activity. But he watched me push my cart back into the store, grab another bag and leave.”
The security guard refused the men’s request to see a store supervisor and instead called the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department for backup, RTV6 reports.
When backup arrived, the officer asked the deputy constable if the men had stolen something, RTV6 reports.
“No, they didn’t steal items,” he could be heard explaining on the video. “They bought a bunch of stuff, but when they were sitting right here I was trying to get their license plate and he hollers out the window, ‘You’re not getting my plate,’ and he takes off.”
The men were eventually told to go, and no report was filed from the incident, RTV6 reports.
As for the deputy constable, he was fired from his position.
“He was terminated last night when the video was brought to my attention,” Lawrence Township Constable Terry Burns told RTV6. “I did see the video and made the decision immediately.”
The deputy constable was also fired from his post as a security guard at the Nordstrom store, Blackwell said, RTV6 reports.
(Photo: Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
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