Police Officers Thought Black Teen Was A Burglar In His Own Home: Lawsuit

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Long Beach, California is settling a lawsuit three years after a Black teenager was racially profiled by the city's police officers, according to Long Beach Post News.

Cristopher Grim was 17 years old when three Long Beach police officers pulled him out of his home and detained both him and his brother, Devaughn White, on May 11, 2018, the lawsuit alleges. Authorities reportedly got a call from a neighbor claiming the boy was looking into people's homes and parked cars.

Grim claims he was just doing his routine exercise in the East Long Beach neighborhood, a predominantly white community, until he noticed a car following him. Afraid of the suspicious vehicle, the teen allegedly ran into his yard through an open gate and entered his home.

That's when the three officers showed up, and someone directed them to the Grim's home, reports say. The cops reportedly approached the home, guns drawn, and yelled for Grim to come out of the house. Grim says police pulled him out of the home and patted him down before entering the house.

"My whole life changed just off of that one incident that could’ve been easily avoided if they’d just knocked on the door," Grim says, adding that the incident left him anxiety and bad acid reflux. He also claims he had to put his college plans on hold.

It reportedly took Grim and White's mother talking to officers to confirm they indeed live there. Police argued that the house looked empty and the open gate affirmed their suspicions that there was a burglar.

The distressed family has since filed a lawsuit against the city, and both parties have reportedly agreed to a $425,000 settlement. The Long Beach City Council will vote Tuesday evening (November 9) on whether to approve the payout, according to reporters.

Carl Douglas, the attorney representing the family, thinks "the city got off cheap." He wanted to take the case to court and let a jury decide the penalties. "The problem is Cris doesn’t look like the officer’s brother or the officer’s father or the officer’s child," he says, accusing the city authorities of racial profiling.

LBPD has denied any racial motivation in the case, arguing that the officers "acted reasonably based on the erroneous reports of a potential burglary," reporters learned. Officials didn't answer questions about whether the officers faced any disciplinary action following a complaint from the mother.

“We deny any allegations of racial profiling and reaffirm our commitment to equal treatment for all,” LBPD spokesman Brandon Fahey said in an email.

Douglas says the family has since moved to a different area, where they feel safer. “There are lives behind these cases, and money doesn’t just make it all right,” the attorney says.

Click here to read more details about the incident.

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