A 25-year-old Black man spent several days behind bars after he was arrested by police in Nevada in a case of mistaken identity after the officers failed to properly research a warrant.
New video released last week shows ordeal. The arrest happened in January 2020 when the man was pulled over for a busted headlight. The man provided officers his name and social security card explaining his license was suspended.
The officers reportedly ran the man’s name in a database and found a no-bond warrant on gun charges for a man with the same name. The person the warrant belonged to was a 49-year-old White man.
Body camera video showed the man explaining to officers there was a mistake but after going back and forth, one of the officers told the young man he believed the warrant belonged to him. He was arrested and booked into jail, spending six days behind bars at two different facilities.
While the young man was in jail, the correct person with the outstanding warrant was arrested in another Nevada city. That department that made the arrest informed the other agency they arrested the correct person but the young man was still kept behind bars.
During his first court appearance with a public defender, the attorney explained to the judge that the defendant was arrested and jailed in a case of mistaken identity, and the judge freed the man.
The young man is now suing the department for $50,000 in damages for civil rights violations, false imprisonment, negligence and more against authorities with both departments.
More about the wrongful arrests and lawsuit can be found here.
Opinion: The typical instincts of the officers who arrested the Black man were to assume he was guilty instead of doing due diligence. The amount of time it would have taken for them to correctly identity the man wanted on the felony warrant pales in comparison to the days this young man spent behind bars and the time he can’t get back. Frankly, $50,000 doesn’t seem like enough.
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