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.
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.
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.
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:
At the end of the day, there's only one thing Robinson was guilty of:
Hopefully the department will take his complaint seriously.