Probe: Michaels, Minnesota cops violated Black teen’s rights

Sep 23, 2021, 2:17 AM | Updated: 2:55 pm

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The manager of a suburban Minneapolis Michaels store called police on a teenager looking for a job simply because he is Black and officers then used unreasonable force against him because of his race, a state agency that investigates civil rights abuses said in findings released Thursday.

The 16-year-old boy repeatedly said “I want to live” and “Don’t kill me” as Brooklyn Center police were restraining him during a March 2019 incident that started when the store manager called police because the teen is Black, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights found.

Both the police department and Michaels Stores Inc. violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act and discriminated against the teen, the agency found, noting that it would seek monetary relief for the teen as well as structural changes to the police department and store.

“The facts of this case are both shocking and unsurprising. There was no reason for Michaels to call the police. And no Black child should ever have to plead for their life from police,” Department of Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said in a statement. “What happened to this kid is a clear violation of his dignity and his civil rights.”

A spokesman for the police department, which has been under scrutiny since one of its officers shot Black motorist Daunte Wright during a traffic stop in April, forwarded a request for comment to the city, which did not respond.

A spokesperson for Michaels, which is headquartered in Irving, Texas, said the arts and crafts store disagrees with the findings based on the facts and plans to appeal. “We take any claim of discrimination very seriously and work every day to make Michaels as inclusive and diverse as possible,” the statement said. The store where the incident took place has since closed.

The teenager, whose name wasn’t released, said in a statement that “the scariest day of my life started with applying for a job at Michaels. Police were called because of my skin color and they abused me to the point I thought I was going to die.”

According to the investigation, the teenager was trying to apply for a job at the Michaels store when a white store manager, who employees said had a history of racially profiling Black customers, called police, saying the teen was causing a disturbance and would not leave.

Surveillance video from the store shows the teen was acting like a typical customer when the manager asked him to leave and that he hadn’t been causing a disturbance, the investigation found. He voluntarily left but returned, believing he had been kicked out because of his race, the investigation found. The manager and another employee met him in the vestibule and blocked him from entering the store. They yelled at each other until the teen walked away, without touching anyone, the investigation found.

The manager called police again and said the teen was a “tyrant customer,” “hostile” and starting to “touch” employees, the investigation found.

When three white Brooklyn Center police officers arrived and found the teen in another store, he appeared frightened and put his hands in the air, the Department of Human Rights found. The officers did not follow their training and immediately used unjustified and unreasonable force, it determined.

Two officers threw the teen to the ground and, while he was face down, they and a sergeant grabbed and pulled on his dreadlocks, put a knee into his back and handcuffed him, the investigation found.

While on the ground, the teen cried out, “Don’t kill me, I want to grow up,” the Human Rights Department said. The agency said that body camera footage shows the officers yanked the teen up, took him outside and put him against a brick wall as he continued to plead for his life.

The investigation found that body camera footage, which was not made public but described in the agency’s findings, contradicted police reports and officers’ testimony. In one instance, an officer said that the teen, who was 5 feet tall and weighed 100 pounds, fought with officers and engaged in a “temper tantrum.” In a report meant to justify the police use of force, the officer also said he commanded the teen to put his hands behind his back.

However, the investigation found that no command was given and that the teen didn’t fight. It found that the body camera footage showed he was compliant and unarmed, and that he made no attempt to flee, raised his hands to surrender and was “clearly frightened.”

The investigation found that the actions of the officers were “so unreasonable that race discrimination is the only likely explanation for their behavior.”

The Brooklyn Center Police Department has faced heavy criticism since Officer Kim Potter, who is white, shot and killed Wright during a traffic stop. Potter, who is charged with manslaughter and who resigned after the shooting, said she mistook her handgun for her Taser. The shooting prompted days of protests, and the City Council in May voted in favor of a resolution that puts the city on track to making changes to its policing practices, including limiting situations in which officers can make arrests.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - This Wednesday, March 31, 2021 file photo shows empty vials of Johnson & Johnson's one-dose ...
Associated Press

COVID vaccine: CDC expands booster rollout, OKs mixing shots

WASHINGTON (AP) — Millions more Americans can get a COVID-19 booster and choose a different company’s vaccine for that next shot, federal health officials said Thursday. Certain people who received Pfizer vaccinations months ago already are eligible for a booster and now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says specific Moderna and Johnson & […]
21 hours ago
Hairdresser Caroline Shamoon of Joey Scandizzo Salon works on a client's hair in Melbourne, Friday,...
Associated Press

Qantas moves up flights as Australia expects tourists soon

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Qantas Airways on Friday brought forward its plans to restart international travel from Sydney as Prime Minister Scott Morrison predicted tourists would be welcomed back to Australia this year. Vaccinated Australian permanent residents and citizens will be free to travel through Sydney from Nov. 1 without the need for hotel quarantine […]
21 hours ago
FILE - In this Oct. 4, 2021, file photo, a security guard stands at the headquarters of China Everg...
Associated Press

Report: Struggling Chinese developer makes bond payment

BEIJING (AP) — A troubled Chinese developer whose struggle to avoid a multibillion-dollar debt default has rattled global financial markets wired $83.5 million on Friday to make an overdue payment to foreign bondholders, a government newspaper reported. Evergrande Group’s struggle to reduce its 2 trillion yuan ($310 billion) of debt to comply with tighter official […]
21 hours ago
President Joe Biden participates in a CNN town hall at the Baltimore Center Stage Pearlstone Theate...
Associated Press

AP FACT CHECK: Biden overstates his record on COVID vaccine

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden botched the numbers behind the COVID-19 vaccine rollout Thursday as he stretched to take all the credit for the surge of shots once he was in office. A look at his remarks during a CNN town hall event: COVID BIDEN: “When I first was elected, there were only 2 […]
21 hours ago
FILE - In this May 25, 2021, file photo, Nissan's former chairman Carlos Ghosn speaks during an int...
Associated Press

Nissan ex-chair Ghosn set on restoring reputation

TOKYO (AP) — Carlos Ghosn, the former auto industry superstar whose career screeched to a halt with his arrest three years ago, isn’t about to settle into quiet retirement. The former head of the Nissan-Renault alliance fled to Lebanon in late 2019, while out on bail facing financial misconduct charges in Japan. In a recent […]
21 hours ago
A man lies still as devotees light oil lamps over his body as part of rituals to celebrate the tent...
Associated Press

AP Week in Pictures: Asia

Oct. 8-14, 2021 This photo gallery highlights some of the most compelling images made or published by Associated Press photographers in Asia and Pacific. The gallery was curated by AP photo editor Masayo Yoshida in Tokyo. Follow AP visual journalism: Instagram: AP Images on Twitter: AP Images blog: Copyright © The Associated […]
21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Probe: Michaels, Minnesota cops violated Black teen’s rights