A police chief in Mississippi is defending the officers in his department for drawing their weapons after stopping a vehicle. The driver of the vehicle felt he was racially profiled because he was black, but the chief says otherwise.
A Mississippi police chief is disputing parts of the account of an African-American man who says officers swarmed his family’s vehicle and pointed guns at him, his wife and four children after a neighbor mistook them for burglars.
Gulfport Chief Leonard Papania posted a video Wednesday on Facebook responding to the allegations by Kelvin Fairley, whose sport utility vehicle was stopped by police Sunday night.
Papania said officers drew their weapons because the SUV had tinted windows and they couldn’t see inside it. He said officers used “proper law enforcement tactics” to have Fairley and the front-seat passenger — Fairley’s wife, Natasha Krikorian — step out of the SUV. Each was handcuffed and taken to a police car.
The chief said officers put their guns away when they saw children were in the vehicle.
“Perceiving no immediate threat, the officers holstered their handguns and instructed the four remaining family members to exit the vehicle,” Papania said. “None of the children were handcuffed. They were instructed to go to the police vehicles.
His post includes several minutes of police camera video.
However, there’s a lot going on here, including a gross misrepresentation of the facts by the mainstream media. For example, the above-linked story is titled by ABC as, “Mississippi chief defends pointing guns in traffic stop.”
The problem is, it wasn’t a traffic stop. The officers were responding to a call regarding a burglary. That’s a different matter entirely. Burglars are violent often enough that caution is warranted to a degree not seen in a traffic stop.
“But they were unarmed,” someone might counter.
They would, of course, be wrong. You see, Fairley was behind the wheel of an instrument that kills tens of thousands of people every year and was recently used in a terrorist attack in New York. He was in an automobile. A couple of tons of metal that can turn into a missile very easily. That was most definitely a weapon.
Fairley may not have been aggressive or meant any harm, but the officers didn’t know that initially.
Let’s look at what the officers on the scene knew. They had a report of a break-in. When they responded, they encountered an SUV leaving the scene, which they stopped. Windows were tinted so they could not see the driver or any occupants, so they followed procedure.
Once they ascertained no laws had been broken, they allowed Fairley to go about his business.
From what we’re seeing, there appear to be no grounds for a complaint of racial profiling in any kind in this incident. I’m sure Fairley had quite a scare, and in light of the way the media likes to portray police relations with the black community, he may well have been terrified he and his family was about to be shot.
That’s not what happened, at least looking at it from there.