SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — One day he was nominated to be on the Sacramento’s police commission. The next day he was handcuffed by cops who thought he could be a criminal.
Johnny Coleman, 19, is the youngest African-American to be named to the city’s police commission.
Surveillance video shows the police stop at the Royal Oaks Regional Transit station. It shows Coleman escorted off the train by a California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer, cuffed and questioned, for a crime he knew nothing about.
Shortly after Coleman was handcuffed, Sacramento police arrived for back up and an officer who recognized Coleman asked the CHP to have the cuffs removed.
“That just shows how important the relationship between people in the community are with law enforcement,” Coleman said. “But for the fact he knew me on a personal level, I could have been in those handcuffs 30, 40 minutes, you know pending investigation.”
The CHP detained Coleman after an officer in a helicopter spotted him walking away from the area of a suspect vehicle.
“He was asked to get off the train, he was handcuffed because the officer was solo, and ultimately he was released for not being involved,” Sacramento Police Capt. Norm Leong said.
Leong says Coleman’s case does lead to hard questions. And that officers are required to give answers.
“A black teenager, walking in a neighborhood, is he stopped because he’s black,” Leong said. “Right? That’s truly the question. And the challenge is in this case, in this case, it’s his proximity, in other cases, it might be a physical description given by a witness or a victim of a crime.”
Mark T. Harris with a group called “Law Enforcement Accountability Directive,” says Coleman’s detainment is an example of what’s wrong with police relations with young African-American men.
“This young man, and the kind of person he is helps underscore how ridiculous this whole situation is,” Harris said. “The only element of anything that would make him suspicious is the fact that he’s an African-American male.”
A 19-year-old star citizen, handcuffed in a suspect search. Just after being selected to Sacramento’s Community Police Commission.