A White DeWitt police officer who twice pulled his gun on a 19-year-old Black boy and threatened to shoot him was terminated in May after investigations into the confrontation established he violated department policies.
The January 14 incident occurred while the former officer, Chad Vorce, was off-duty. And details of the confrontation have recently come to light because Vorce is appealing his termination, NewsWeek reported.
The Black teenager, identified as Alexander Hamilton, was delivering newspapers when Vorce confronted him after spotting the teen’s gray van in the neighborhood, FOX 47 News reported. The former officer, who was dropping his teenage son off at school that morning, approached the Black teenager because of alleged suspicious activity.
Vorce reportedly claimed Alexander matched the description of a suspect who had allegedly been breaking into vehicles around his neighborhood. Vorce approached Alexander’s van and asked him what he was up to. Alexander replied saying, “I’m just doing me.” The former cop then went ahead to call 911.
In the call, Vorce was heard telling the operator there was a “Black male hanging out in the area” and he needed “to be checked.” “The plate’s covered up with dirt so I can’t get it,” Vorce also said in the call.
Vorce trailed Alexander. At a certain point, the Black teen said he reversed his vehicle in an attempt to have a conversation with Vorce. But Vorce reversed when he did. The former cop claimed he thought Alexander was going to crash into him.
Vorce then got out of his car with his gun drawn before pointing it at Alexander. The then off-duty cop informed the 911 operator he’ll go “to go shots fired if he [Alexander] does it again.”
Alexander left the scene after he noticed the firearm. The Black teen later told investigators he decided to subsequently go to a public place because he thought he could end up getting shot, FOX 47 News reported. After Alexander drove to a nearby gas station, Vorce blocked his car and informed him he was a cop. Vorce once again pointed his gun at Alexander and instructed him to step out of his vehicle. Two law enforcement officials who later responded to the scene detained Alexander.
Following the confrontation, Vorce was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation. And though criminal charges weren’t brought against Vorce, an internal investigation by the city of DeWitt determined Vorce’s conduct violated department policies. He was subsequently relieved of his duties on May 5.
In an interview with WLNS, Alexander’s mother, Rachel Hamilton, said the confrontation left her devastated. “Because he didn’t answer you, he didn’t give you the correct answer you were looking for? That doesn’t give you the right to take away my child, or even threaten to,” Rachel said.
Elsewhere in the police footage, Vorce was heard asking Alexander, “I didn’t know if you were going to back up, pull a gun and shoot me?” Alexander replied saying, “I don’t have a gun bro, what are you talking about?”
“Alex doesn’t yell, you have to push him to no limits for him to yell, and I heard the emotion in my son’s voice at that time,” Rachel said. “For any mother to see that video, or hear it? That is devastating…. that is devastating.”
Rachel also revealed her son did not tell her about the confrontation, and she got to know about it through another person. “I know the reason he didn’t tell me because he didn’t want me to worry,” she said.
Rachel said the incident has impacted their family. “Truth is, that as a black mother, that is something you have to tell your black sons. To make sure that they understand from a young age how to be cautious, how to act, so you don’t get shot,” she said.
Off duty officer Chad Vorce pulled his GUN on a teen who was delivering newspapers and said “when I see a Black guy … I think you’re doing stuff like this.” This use of force & bias is DISGUSTING. Thankfully, the teen was not hurt and Vorce was fired! 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/V8hb0rnmkG— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) November 15, 2021