The Detroit Police Department is investigating after a Black veteran officer claims he was profiled, roughed up and handcuffed by a fellow white cop for allegedly carrying too much cash.
Christopher Williams, a 14-year veteran of the force, told FOX 2 Detroit the incident unfolded at the city’s police training center on June 6 as nearly 100 plainclothes officers were logging hours to meet their annual requirements. At the time, Williams was in possession of more than $5,000 cash.
He said the officer in question saw him stuffing the money, which belonged to his girlfriend, into his pocket as he left the restroom. As Williams and his lady were walking out of the day-long training, that’s when he says the cop grabbed him, shoved him against a fence and placed him in handcuffs.
“I said, ‘What the f–k are you doing?’” Williams said, recalling the incident. “I was confused. He’s like, ‘You’re not supposed to have this much money on you.’”
“Everybody saw it,” he added. “So that’s embarrassing and humiliating.”
According to Williams’ attorney, Todd Perkins, Williams was only holding the cash for his girlfriend, who’s also a police officer. Perkins said Williams’ girlfriend also attended the June 6 training and had withdrawn the money on her lunch break to purchase money orders to pay a few medical bills.
It was only after the girlfriend showed the white officer her receipt for the bank withdrawal that he let Williams go, Perkins said. Now the attorney is calling on Detroit police to take action against the cop in question.
“This is how he was treated by an individual who has only 20 percent of time on the job this man has,” Perkins told the station. “He throws him up against the fence, without probable cause and places him in handcuffs. How dare he.”
On Friday, Assistant Police Chief James White said the incident is under investigation but he didn’t want to assess blame “prematurely.”
“I’d like to see what happened,” White said in a video statement posted to Facebook . “To say [that] it’s a racial component, I’ve got someone in the bathroom with a very large sum of money on him and an inquiry is being made as to where did you get the money. That’s not unreasonable to me.”
It’s unclear if the white officer was aware Williams was a cop as well, a question White said his department is looking into. He also noted that the building was open to the public at the time of the training.
“One of the things that I’d be trying to find out is at what point did the officer identify himself as a police officer, which is required by our policy — that once you’re engaged in confrontation or conversation relative to an investigation, you should identify yourself as a member of our agency,” the assistant police chief said.
Perkins insists the white cop didn’t identify himself as a law enforcement officer before handcuffing Williams. He also called White’s response to the incident “shameful,” in that it forces his client to explain why he has money.
“My client was injured by this — mentally,” Perkins told NBC News. “He’s distraught. There has to be some remuneration that comes to my client. He doesn’t want this to happen to anyone.”
Watch more in the video below.