Colorado Springs, Colo., police racially profiled two black men when they were stopped and detained, the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, which is representing the men, claims, according to Reuters.
Ryan Brown, the passenger in the vehicle, recorded video after his brother was pulled over for seemingly no reason on March 25. By the time Ryan started recording, his brother, Benjamin, was already being put in handcuffs.
According to the ACLU, the stop was made just about a block from the brothers’ home, and they were reportedly stopped because of a cracked windshield. Benjamin, with a Taser directed at him, was ordered out of the car and handcuffed and searched before being put in the back of a police car. Benjamin was ultimately issued a citation for an obstructed view, the ACLU chapter noted.
Ryan was pulled out of the car by two officers and allegedly held at gunpoint—this was not shown in the video—and now, according to the group, faces a charge for “interfering with official police duties.”
In the video, Ryan can be heard narrating what was happening and also telling the cops that he was recording. He never raises his voice as he insistently asks why they were stopped, whether he was being arrested and why would he need to come out of the car as its passenger.
“Am I under arrest? You failed to identify yourself, so I don’t know who you are,” Ryan says in the video. “My hands are visible. I have the recorder recording. My brother is being put in handcuffs. We’re pulled over for no reason. He still has not identified why he’s pulled us over.
“I’m being perceived as a threat because we’re being pulled over for absolutely no reason,” he added before being taken out of the car.
“What Ryan and Benjamin Brown experienced at the hands of the Colorado Springs police is sadly all too familiar for young people of color,” ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein said in a statement, according to Reuters. “No reasonable person could watch the video recording of the traffic stop and say that two white men would have been treated the same way.”
As Ryan is pulled from the car and put on his stomach by officers, he says, “You see this? Excessive force.”
The video then stops, but the ACLU is using the footage that was taken as proof that at no point was Ryan Brown trying to hinder the officers. “As the video clearly shows, he acted calmly and like a gentleman, even in the face of an unjust stop. There was no justice for him to obstruct,” ACLU of Colorado Cooperating Attorney Dan Recht said in the statement.