[photo: image of a young, black man smiling at the camera.]
Petitioning City of Durham, Durham Police Dept, State and Federal Prosecutors
Free Carlos Riley Jr!
petition by Liberty and Justice for Carlos Riley Jr!
To help bring awareness to racial profiling, unlawful arrest, covering up the wrong doings of police officers and violation of civil rights.
We do not know everything about what occurred when Officer Kelly Stewart approached Carlos Riley Jr. on December 18, 2012. Our understanding will undoubtedly increase as Carlos’ lawyers investigate these incidents and obtain additional information from the police and prosecuting attorneys. But what we know so far has persuaded us that the following is true:
1. On December 18, at about 10 a.m., Carlos had just dropped his girlfriend off at work and had stopped to talk with an acquaintance. Without any lawful reason for doing so, Officer Stewart, who was driving an unmarked police vehicle and wearing civilian clothes, pulled up behind Carlos.
2. Carlos did not know that the person who came up behind him was a police officer and drove away, as he was legally entitled to do. Officer Stewart, without legal justification, chased Carlos and turned on the lights on his vehicle.
3. When Carlos saw the lights, he immediately stopped. Officer Stewart came up to the side of Carlos’ car and wrongly accused him of smoking marijuana… Carlos denied smoking or having marijuana in the car.
4. Office Stewart then jumped into the car and began to choke and punch Carlos. Carlos could not breathe and struggled to free himself. Officer Stewart then threatened to kill him and began to draw his gun. Office Stewart shot himself in the leg.
5. Carlos feared that the next shot would be for him and was afraid that he would be killed. He grabbed the gun and pulled it away from the officer. He then helped the officer out of the car and fled to protect himself because he thought he would be shot and killed when other officers arrived at the scene.
6. Within a few hours Carlos voluntarily turned himself in to the Durham Police Department. He is now facing state and federal charges.
7. This situation developed because of the actions of Officer Stewart and the policies and practices of the Durham Police Department. Officer Stewart should never have stopped or chased Carlos, should not have jumped into his car, should not have punched or choked Carlos, and should not have drawn his gun. The Police Department is responsible because it does not properly train or supervise its officers and does not discipline officers who violate peoples’ rights.. Instead, like many police departments across the country it engages in racial profiling and allows its officers to abuse people, particularly young African American men.
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