Richfield Police Department has released the video and audio from an incident over the weekend in which a Black man was arrested during a traffic stop for a felony warrant that belongs to another man who stole his identity.
Darrius Strong was pulled over Friday, July 10 on Old Shakopee Road near Logan Ave. in Bloomington for 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.
But they got the wrong guy, as someone had stolen Strong's identity. Nonetheless, police approached his vehicle with caution, as an officer with the the Richfield Police Department pulled Strong over, then walked toward him with her gun in her right hand and pointed at the ground.
Strong sees the gun and immediately shows both of his hands through the window.
Confused by what's happening, Strong complies with everything the officers say and is handcuffed and seated in the back of a squad car. It's then when police begin to learn that they've arrested the wrong man, as Strong is confused why there's a warrant for his arrest when the only thing he's done is left a speeding ticket unpaid.
Here's how the conversation played out in the video:
Strong: "It's just a ticket, I can pay it right now."
Officer: "No, it's a felony warrant."
Strong: "Felony warrant, for a ticket?
Officer: "No, no no. The warrant you have is for check forgery."
Strong: "Check forgery. What? You sure you got the right person?"
Officer: "You apparently got a court date at some point that you didn't make."
Strong: "Are you serious?" That can't be right though. I don't even write checks."
Officer: "No, you don't get speeding tickets that seriously *laughs*. We're not coming at you with guns for a speeding ticket."
Strong: "That can't be right though. I don't even write checks. Darrius Strong, right?"
Officer: "Shoot. This might be the wrong guy.
Strong: "Oh my god."
Officers then check Strong's driver's license, which offers another clue that he's the wrong guy.
"Yeah, it's not the right date of birth. That's... but it's got your date of birth on there as well, and your name on it, too. What the heck?" the female officer said.
Strong then provides his Social Security number. "What the heck?" she says again.
After being cleared, the female officer can be heard detailing a photo of the actual person who has a felony warrant for check forgery. "That dude has a tattoo on his neck when you look at his FBI number, so definitely not you. I am so sorry. But that had the same ... your whole name ends up showing up in the warrant because he apparently used your middle name, too."
Strong politely thanks the officer before being let go: "I appreciate your kindness. I was a little scared with the gun."
Strong also said he was pulled over about a month ago and was told his identity had been used by another person, which he thought was "a lie." Police then talked him through how to regain sole possession of his identity through the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
In a video posted to Facebook that has more than 120,000 views, Strong said he was "shaking" during the encounter and feared for his life.
"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 said.
Police from Richfield, Edina and Bloomington were involved in the traffic stop, Richfield PD issuing a public apology to Strong on behalf of the three departments.
"It could've ended a whole different route, and racial profiling is a thing," Strong said in his video.