California officers prevented a nonexistent armed robbery by holding a man at gunpoint and forcing him to crawl on the ground as his uncle and girlfriend watched in horror.
Vincent Lemar, who posted a video of the incident to Facebook, said he and his nephew Levell Johnson were attempting to leave the Fresno, Calif., T-Mobile store when Lemar spotted a police officer with his weapon drawn. Lemar alerted his 26-year-old nephew and as Johnson exited the store, the police pointed guns at Johnson and told him to lie face down on the pavement and crawl toward them using his fingers.
In the video, you can hear cops use a bullhorn to shout instructions at Johnson. Meanwhile, Johnson’s girlfriend can be seen in the parking lot, watching the entire incident from yards away while police say they were “being confronted” her.
According to the Fresno Bee, police handcuffed and detained Johnson and informed him that they received a 911 call by the store’s security company alerting them to a robbery in progress at the T-Mobile store, explaining: “We got called here, OK, we didn’t just randomly show up here.”
Johnson told officers that he was wearing his work identification on a lanyard around his neck and his uncle Lemar had already shown his ID to store employees, so it is easy to understand why anyone would assume the men were robbers. After all, most robbers are careful to give out their Social Security numbers and picture ID before committing a strong arm robbery in broad daylight.
After the video began spreading on the internet, T-Mobile issued a statement that read in part:
The safety and comfort of our customers, our TPR dealers and their employees is paramount to us. We are taking this incident very seriously and are actively investigating to determine exactly what occurred. Though we have found no evidence that the employees acted improperly, we would take definitive action if we did.
Thank God no one was hurt.
Except for the psyche of Johnson, who was forced to crawl while guns were drawn on him as he likely prayed that he wouldn’t become the next Alton Sterling or Philando Castile. At least Johnson’s girlfriend, Gloria Bush, escaped unscathed ... Unless you count the fact that she was forced to watch the father of her two children being held at gunpoint for the crime of being black in public.
But at least the billion-dollar corporation of T-Mobile doesn’t have to worry about potentially losing a few hundred dollars to the fictional robbers. Also, zero animals were hurt in the filming of this incident. And that’s what counts.
To their credit, the footage looks amazing. The clarity and detail of the video is so exceptional that you can almost smell the rotting carcasses of the 29 unarmed people killed by police this year. Perhaps they could use the footage in a commercial about T-Mobile...