Posted Feb. 23, 2006 – Looks like Shani Davis’s fellow Olympic speed skaters are not the only ones hating on the gold medal winner.
It appears that a Chicago police officer is not that fond of him either, according to a lawsuit Davis and three other Black men filed against the city and its former Police Superintendent Terry Hillard.
In documents obtained by BET.com, the lawsuit alleges that a Chicago Police officer confronted Davis in 2001 while he was walking near his home and ordered him to put his hands against the wall. After running his hands over Davis' arms, legs and torso, the officer pulled down Davis' pants and underwear and shined a flashlight at his private parts.
But that's not the half of it, according to the lawsuit.
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Officers Stripped Him of His Clothes
The officer then ordered Davis to turn around and repeated the process, pulling Davis' pants and underwear away from his body, the lawsuit alleges.
At the time of the alleged incident, Davis had already been chosen as a member of the 2002 Olympic team.
Just two years earlier, Davis had been searched near a Chicago train stop while on his way to a video arcade with friends, according to the skater's suit. Quincy Joyner and Damien Joyner, who are part of the lawsuit, were also stopped in the 2000 incident, suit alleges. Damane Grier, who was added to the lawsuit a few months later, was stopped in March 2003 while on his way to his mother's house, it says.
All of the men, who are Black, say they were searched for illegal weapons. They are seeking unspecified damages.
A Common Practice by Police?
Ed Yohnka a spokesman for the Illinois ACLU, said that Davis was outraged when he approached rights group. Yohnka said that hundreds of Blacks and Latinos are stopped on the street and searched for illegal weapons. Davis, as a high-profile athlete, is able to put a spotlight on the injustice.
"This is a practice that we've heard a lot about," he told BET.com. “Harassed men of color is something we've seen in Chicago and in other parts of the state for a long time."
Chicago Police Department spokeswoman Monique Bond declined comment to BET.com, saying the case because is pending. She noted, however, that "the Chicago Police Department rejects any and all forms of racial profiling."
Yohnka said the ACLU anticipates going to trial some time this year.
Davis became the first Black athlete to capture an individual gold medal in Winter Olympics history when he won the 1,000-meter speed-skating competition at the Torino, Italy, last week. He has been in a verbal war with fellow American skater Chad Hedrick over Davis' decision not to skate in the team pursuit event.
Davis took the silver medal in the 1,500 meters Tuesday, with Hedrick earning a bronze.
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