The incident unfolded as his wife and kids – who were crying and feared for their father’s life – watched on in a video that was recorded by his son. Hardy was later freed after police determined he wasn’t the suspect they were after.
Speaking to KETV about what transpired prior to his arrest, Hardy said he came back to his front lawn after walking his neighbor’s daughter to her home to make sure she was safe after hearing gunshots in the neighborhood on Thursday. He was later approached and wrongfully arrested by the police who were in the neighborhood searching for an armed suspect who fit his description.
“I was scared. Scared for my family. I didn’t want them to witness me getting gunned down,” Hardy said about his arrest, adding that the police “handcuffed me like I was a fugitive, like I was the suspect.”
Responding to the incident, Omaha police, in a statement to KETV, said they were in the area “looking for an armed suspect that ran from a traffic stop. The suspect was described as a Black Male, dreadlocks, gray tank top, dark shorts, armed with a handgun.”
A command officer, after spotting Hardy, “asked for a repeat of the description and then asked if the suspect was heavyset, and was told ‘yes’ over the radio. The command officer then indicated that he had a party fitting that description but wearing white shorts.”
The police continued: “The command officer approached [Hardy] and held him at gunpoint until Uniform Patrol officers and other gang officers arrived to assist. While being taken into custody [Hardy] advised he had a gun on him. Shortly after [Hardy] was handcuffed, it was learned that he was not involved and not the suspect officers were looking for. It was determined [Hardy] was a valid CCW holder, officers took the handcuff off of [Hardy] and he was released.”
“I fit the description. Black guy with dreads,” Hardy told KETV. “Basically racial profiling.”
Hardy’s fiancée said that during the arrest, she tried going for their 4-month-old baby who was in their car but the police told her to stay put.
“It broke me. When they finally let me get her, the first person I called was my dad. I couldn’t even talk. I couldn’t talk. I was hysterical,” she said. “My youngest son, after it all happened, Timothy was coming outside. And he said, ‘Dad, are police going to shoot you?”
Hardy said he hasn’t heard anything from the Omaha Police Department in the aftermath of the incident. He and his fiancée also agree the incident could have been handled better without the need to draw weapons.
“It could happen to any one of us. Any one Black guy with dreads. It could have been anybody,” Hardy said.