It feels like you never really know what you’ll get when you mix authorities and DWB — you know, Driving While Black.™ Arrested? Killed? Framed with drugs? How’s about this one: imagine having the ashes of your recently deceased two-year-old be tested for drugs during a police stop.
Yeah, just like we said…you never really know.
The Root put us on to this truly despicable story that details a Black man in Illinois named Dartavius Barnes that had to file a federal lawsuit after officers actually took the time to test a small urn with his daughter’s ashes and falsely said it tested positive for drugs. If that wasn’t enough, wait until you hear some of the insensitive words that came out some of these officer’s mouth during the process.
Take a look at The Washington Post‘s recollection of audio from the nearly 47 minutes of body-camera footage of the encounter that was published by Illinois news outlets last week:
“Barnes was pulled over on April 6, 2020, for allegedly speeding and disobeying a stop sign. The video shows Barnes, who cooperated with police, exiting his car and being placed in handcuffs before giving police permission to search his blue Chrysler. Barnes told police he only carried some marijuana inside the vehicle.
He was put in the back of a patrol car for about 20 minutes while officers with flashlights inspected his car and seized nearly 80 grams of marijuana stored in plastic bags and a Mason jar. At one point, one officer showed the urn to another officer.
“At first I thought it was heroin, then I checked for cocaine, but it looks like it’s probably molly,” one officer said.
“X pills?” another officer said, referencing ecstasy.
Minutes later, one of the officers told Barnes he would be arrested because they had found either meth or ecstasy in the center console of his car. “What?” Barnes said before asking to see the illegal substance police claimed they had found.”
In addition to that, officers were also quoted as having a really rude conversation after seeing how visibly upset Dartavius had become, with one saying, “I’m just going to give him a notice to appear on the weed,” to which the other replies, “Aside from p—ed-off dad and testing the dead baby ashes?”
WP confirmed that Barnes filed the lawsuit against the city and the six officers in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois in October 2020, and is seeking compensatory damages and a trial by jury. A judge has set a jury trial for August 2022. The officers of course denied the allegations according to court records, with Officer Colton Redding, Officer Brian Riebling, Officer Adam Westlake, Officer Juan Resendez, Officer Nicholas Renfro and Officer Regan Moloh each claiming they were, “entitled to qualified immunity as their conduct was justified by an objectively reasonable belief that it was lawful.”
Everyone, please pray for this man and the justice he deserves. He definitely didn’t deserve this treatment one bit.
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