Not even enjoying ice cream in your own car can save a black woman from being harassed and handcuffed even if seven months pregnant as madam La’Tasha Tyler found out in Evansville.
Tyler opted to enjoy her ice cream in the parking lot of G.D. Ritzy’s in Indiana in the evening of July 27 because indoor dining was closed. But that was not enough to stop a rubble rouser from calling 911 and reporting that two black women were embroiled in a fight with a gun drawn.
Police officers were then dispatched to the scene. Upon their arrival, they found Tyler in her vehicle with her treat.
She was ordered out of her car and made to walk backward toward several Evansville Police officers with their handguns pointed at her and made to kneel before being cuffed.
“I’m seven months pregnant!” Tyler stated. “What am I doing wrong?” she asked.
An officer wearing body camera explained: “We just got called and your car and license plate was given as the description of people that just pulled a gun on somebody at Ritzy’s.”
Tyler responded: “I don’t have a gun, you can check my car”. An officer told another he thought Tyler was innocent with another submitting someone appeared to be pissed off with her.
Tyler was uncuffed shortly after a search of her car showed there was no gun. “We know it’s embarrassing to you, and we’re sorry,” a cop said. “I want you to understand that. I truly do … but we’ve got to approach our job as we do.”
A detective later determined the 911 caller had a history of mental illness. Tyler meanwhile complained about the stop in a Facebook post, accusing the cops of endangering her and her unborn child’s lives.
“Apparently this lady called and told them I had a gun and was shooting at her so they treated me like dirt and made me get on my knees in a puddle to handcuff me for NO REASON!” she wrote. “Every time I tried to talk, they acted like they were going to shoot me!”
Despite the apology of the officers, Evansville Police spokesman Sgt. Nick Winsett denied Tyler’s assessment and labeled the officers’ actions as “textbook” police work.
“Any time it’s high risk, we don’t have certain traffic stops for different races, it’s all high risk or it’s not. In this case, it was considered a high-risk traffic stop,” he told Courier & Press.
Winsett’s assertion is countered by Tyler’s lawyer David Mour who reckons if his client was a white pregnant woman, the interaction would have been much civil, adding upon examination of police documents and policy a decision will be made to sue or not.
“I get the police have to be safe, etc., but I submit to you that if this were a Caucasian lady that was seven months pregnant, I doubt this would have been handled in the same manner,” Mour told WEHT.