Ahead of last week’s midterm elections in the U.S., a black man from Louisiana who was campaigning for a GOP congressman last month was arrested by the police in what many have described as the latest case of racial profiling.
Keilon Hill, a 24-year-old Baton Rouge native, said he was out knocking on doors for Rep. David Young in West Des Moines on October 29 when the incident happened, local station WHO-TV reported.
Hill said that the police approached him on a report of a suspicious person right after he had interviewed a student and was seated gathering his notes.
With his cellphone, Hill recorded the heated exchange between him and the police officer, stressing the fact that the police had no right to arrest him as he was not breaking any laws.
Ray: “I’m not going to tell you again, stop.”
Hill: “And what will you do if I won’t stop?
Ray: “I will detain you.”
Hill: “Detain me for what?”
Ray: “You are not listening. I’m investigating a suspicious person.”
Hill: “Have I broken any laws.?”
Ray: “That’s not the point.”
Hill tried to walk away but was then arrested for Interference with Official Acts and was booked in Polk County Jail and released. He went back to work canvassing for the GOP congressman the following day in Urbandale when police were called on him again. A woman invited Hill into her home so the police would leave him alone, media reports said.
The 24-year-old student from Southern University in Louisiana is scheduled to appear in Polk County court on December 6.
Citizens for Community Improvement, a group which has in recent months highlighted several cases it believes show racial profiling by area police, released a video Monday of the October 29 arrest of Hill.
The video showed that Hill had refused to identify himself or answer questions from officers who had received a complaint about door-to-door soliciting.
In a press release, the group said: “Mr. Hill declined to speak with Officer Ray further because he knew Iowa law does not require a person to identify themselves unless there is reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot, and Mr. Hill was not up to anything illegal.”
“This doesn’t happen with white people,” Fagan-Reidburn, an organizer of the group said.
“That’s just how it is. I have not heard of a white person canvassing in a suburban neighbourhood where they have had the police called on them. I just have not heard of it.”
Below is a video of what ensued between Hill and the police: