Note: we are republishing this story amid nationwide discussion regarding police accountability and the relationship between police officers and their communities.
Ciera Calhoun was pulled over by officers in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. A nurse in her late 20s, she later went on Facebook and accused the officers of racial profiling, and even provided the name and badge number of one of the officers.
She posted; "So I went home to Kansas City this past weekend. Last night I hung out with some of my friends in [Lee's Summit], which is [considered] a suburban area out there."
"We got into the rental I rented and start driving. A police [car] pulls us over right away. The police officer walks up to the car to tell me he pulled me over for having my lights off."
The officer then noticed a black bag flying out of the car, and decided to search the car after he ran her license. He asked Calhoun and the passengers to step out of the car, and did a THC test on some residue he found on the car. The test results were negative. Calhoun got two warnings from the officer.
She explained; "This police officer gave me 2 warnings. One for not having my lights on, which I'm okay about accepting that because I was truly at fault. He then gave me a second warning, which was a driver license violation. Now for those who don't know, I have lived in [T]exas for the last [two] years with a valid Texas license. The officer explained to me that my Missouri licensed showed expired and he had to go with what my Missouri license says because I was driving on Missouri roads."
The second officer managed to locate the black bag, and determined that it must have been kicked up when Calhoun drove past it. This got her angry. She wrote; "Now let me tell y'all. [Three] black nurses with [Bachelor's] degrees and [Master's] degrees were standing at the side of the road for an hour being harassed. [These] police officers had their hands on their guns the whole time I tell you, I can honestly say I don't feel safe around police officers at all. I didn't care for police before, [b]ut now I can say I hate them to the core of me."
She continued; "There are some sketch cops out there who are willing to go by any means to bring black people down and [it's] beyond sad. Be careful out there."
Travis Forbes, Lee’s Summit Police Chief, took Calhoun’s accusations seriously, and the department launched an investigation. They concluded that the officers were wrong for giving Calhoun a warning regarding the license. However, they maintained that it was the result of a “training issue,” and not racial profiling as Calhoun alleged.
Chris Depue, Lee’s Summit Police Sgt., called Calhoun’s post derogatory. He stated; “Her post is derogatory,” and if she was "sticking by her allegations, it will be our plan to not only release the video of the stop, [but to] refute her allegations and release the screenshots of her Facebook posts that she has now taken down. We don’t want to be ugly about this but she is making a serious allegation that is simply not true and we will show the public the entire body of evidence regarding the stop.”
Calhoun reported that a police captain had called her to tell her that the post was derogatory. She later took it down, but the Lee’s Summit Police Department released the dashcam footage anyway.
Sources: The Police Tribune