Karle Robinson, a 61-year-old resident of Kansas, was moving into his new home August 12 when police saw him carrying his television into the house. Since he was finishing his move late at night, he understood why they might be suspicious and offered to go inside and retrieve the TV's documentation. The police decided they would rather handcuff Robinson and put him up against a wall.
Later, officers entered Robinson's home and searched for the documents themselves. Though they apologized once they found the receipts, Robinson believes the entire incident could have been avoided if the officer had trusted him the same way he might have trusted a white person:
If I'd been a white man, you know that wouldn't happen. I'm being handcuffed right here on my own damn property.
@thehill just add this to the ridiculously long list of things Black people can't do in peace. #movingwhileblack— PNutz (@PNutz)1538700223.0
The officer would later explain to Robinson why he had taken the drastic measures: a string of robberies had hit the town. This reasoning did only a little to assuage Robinson's unease:
It's real uncomfortable, but I understand.
@thehill this is why they kneel.— T.V. ANGSTROM (@T.V. ANGSTROM)1538700445.0
Several days after the encounter, Robinson filed a complaint with the police department. He believes he was treated wrongly and told the Star that, in this country, black men are "guilty until proven innocent:"
They're thinking I'm stealing. I've been hearing this for 40 years — getting pulled years, getting pulled over, being searched. I'm not going to let this go.
🙄🤦🏾♀️🤦🏾♀️ Do yall realize how dumb this sounds?! If the man wasn't actually moving in, why would he be moving his… https://t.co/ORlh2Pa9Lv— Courtney (@Courtney)1538970519.0
The world is not safe for black men. https://t.co/RTUkdI5bXj— Trevon D Logan (@Trevon D Logan)1538786456.0
Tonganoxie Police Chief Greg Lawson defended his officer's actions, saying he was alone at the time and acted appropriately since he suspected a burglary:
If I were on that call, by myself, no matter the race of the person, they would've been handcuffed.
Twitter is a little skeptical of Lawson's claim:
I don't believe the police chief. He is lying. He wouldn't have cuffed a white man under the same circumstances. https://t.co/qixzV1jNL9— Andrew Caplan (@Andrew Caplan)1538921754.0
This can not continue to happen https://t.co/HQW64dtaZN— Vanessa Keller (@Vanessa Keller)1538843766.0
Two key sentences from this appalling story: “Though Robinson offered to get the documentation in his home confirm… https://t.co/KStswI9uDt— Steven D. Greydanus (@Steven D. Greydanus)1538860778.0
@thehill "Lawson noted that the officer who placed Robinson in handcuffs was initially alone and had reason to susp… https://t.co/AvCmLVCv7B— #WomenStandUnited🗽 (@#WomenStandUnited🗽)1538701397.0
@thehill It’s sad that when we hear these stories now we just gloss over the profiling and have to hope at least nobody was killed.— James (@James)1538700351.0
@thehill https://t.co/4DdzzYFWYZ— Black Opium (@Black Opium)1538702391.0
At the end of the day, there's only one thing Robinson was guilty of:
@thehill @sundewhiteart Guilty of being black and owning a big TV.— Gracie (@Gracie)1538708968.0
Hopefully the department will take his complaint seriously.