#ShoppingWhileBlack: Indiana Officer Fired After Harassing Shoppers for 'Acting Suspicious'

Deputy constable Daryl Jones has been fired after a viral video surfaced in which he was seen harassing a pair of black men in a parking lot for—you guessed it—“acting suspicious.”

From NBC News:

In the video posted to YouTube on Nov. 13, the description says the two men first noticed the officer watching them while they were at a Nordstrom Rack store in the Castleton neighborhood of Indianapolis.

“He watched us buy everything, and then followed us to the car,” the YouTube video description says.

According to the description of the 17-minute video posted a day after the incident, which has been viewed more than 300,000 times as of Tuesday morning, the men started filming when they began to exit the parking lot and the officer screamed he was going to run their plates.

“So, we circled back to ask him why he was being invasive and abusing his authority!” the description says.

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In the video, Jones aggressively demands the identification of the two men, later identified as Aaron Blackwell and Durell Cunningham. When they inquire as to why, Jones sneers, “Because I told you to!”

Blackwell and Cunningham then explain to the officer that he has no justification to act in such a manner, and Jones responds by threatening to call back up. Then, in an attempt to diffuse the situation, Blackwell and Cunningham request a supervisor, to which Jones angrily responds, “I’m not calling a supervisor!”

Eventually, an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer arrived on the scene after responding to Jones’ call for backup and, after assessing the situation, told the two men, “As far as I’m concerned, you guys are good to go.”

Jones had been working security as an off-duty police officer at the Nordstrom Rack store, but according to NBC News, he’s been relieved of his duties. And while Blackwell and Cunningham are relieved that the situation didn’t escalate into something far worse, they can’t help but feel more should’ve been done.

“Just because a real police officer showed up and realized we did nothing wrong and sent us on our way doesn’t vindicate how we were treated,” Blackwell, who is also identified as Aaron Joseph by some outlets, told WTHR 13. “I feel like the IMPD officer should have at least given us a way to file a complaint or some kind of victims’ card. He did make suggestions, but we still have been violated and did nothing wrong.”

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Blackwell and Cunngintom have secured an attorney in order to pursue their legal options.

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About the author

Jay Connor

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for ya'll to stop putting sugar in grits.