'I could've been dead today': Minnesota man says he was racially profiled; police apologize

It happened during what police say was a traffic stop on Friday afternoon.
Publish date:

A trio of suburban police departments have apologized after arresting the wrong man on Friday. 

"The scariest s*** just happened to me a minute ago, and I'm still weird, shaken up about it," Darrius Strong said in a Facebook video. "I could've been dead today."

Strong was pulled over on Old Shakopee Road near Logan Ave. in Bloomington for what the trio of police departments claim was a speeding violation, though after running Strong's license plate they "noted the registered owner had a suspended Minnesota driver’s license and felony-level warrant for his arrest."

"I'm following the rules. I'm going the speed limit and everything. I get pulled over and the next thing you know four other squad cars pull up and they all bring their guns out," Strong said. "I stuck my hands out the damn car and they was like, 'get out the car.'

He said he was handcuffed and put in the police vehicle. 

"This whole time I'm shaking, I'm thinking like I don't know what they're going to do to me when this door closes. George Floyd came in my head, specifically the clip when they put him in the back and they was doing all kinds of things to him," Strong added. 

In the public apology posted to the Richfield Police Department's Facebook page, the department says an officer from Richfield "momentarily drew her firearm, but held it near her thigh and pointed at the ground," adding that the weapon was "never pointed at Mr. Strong" and that "no other officers had their handguns drawn."

The apology note also says that felony-level warrants are high risk, which often results in officers drawing their weapon during an encounter.

"The officer quickly determined that Mr. Strong was compliant, so she immediately holstered her handgun. Mr. Strong was escorted out of his vehicle, secured into handcuffs, and placed into the rear seat of the Richfield police officer’s squad car," the department said. 

After running additional checks on Strong they found that "a different person falsely used Mr. Strong’s name during a previous police encounter that resulted in an arrest warrant being issued in his name."

Strong, in his video that has more than 74,000 views, explained that he saw a photo of the person police mistakenly identified him as and noted that that person was "darker" and had a "big tattoo" on his neck.

"No sympathy, no empathy for pulling me over with guns drawn on me," Strong said. "Anything can happen to us, man, especially us Black bodies, Black people, Black men."

"This was no doubt a stressful and emotional experience for Mr. Strong. While they were doing their jobs based on what they knew at the time of the traffic stop, officers regret the stress Mr. Strong felt," the police departments added. 

"It could've ended a whole different route, and racial profiling is a thing," Strong concluded. 

You can read the entire apology letter from police here

Next Up