Robin Anderson, 20, of Glendale, Wis., filed a lawsuit in federal court on Monday, in which she accused the City of Glendale, police officer William Schieffer, and Detective Adam Wall of racial profiling in a case of mistaken identity gone violently wrong, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports.
Imagine you’re sitting in your car, prepping for an early morning job interview, only to have your car window smashed in by a police officer and a gun pointed in your face.
That’s exactly what happened to Anderson in the early morning hours of Dec. 20, 2017.
The Glendale Police Department had received notice of a series of robberies at cellphone stores in Milwaukee, Brookfield, Mequon, and Wauwatosa, Wis., and officers were told to be on the look out for four Black men in a black Hyundai Elantra. Officers were also given specific details, including the vehicle’s license plate number.
But, apparently, for Officer Schieffer and Detective Wall, any Black face in the right place at the wrong time would do.
Anderson was parallel parked, with cars on either side of hers, in front of a cellphone store near Applebee’s restaurant, where she was scheduled to interview for a job as a server. She was early, so the door of the restaurant was locked.
Anderson’s car was a different model Hyundai, and her plates didn’t match the suspicious ones, the complaint says. Also, no women were alleged to have been involved in the robberies, and none of the crimes had occurred in Glendale.
“They pull to the car, hit her door, got out, jumped around, smashed the window on the other side, pointed their guns. had her get out of the car crawling over glass,” said Mark Thomsen, Robin Anderson’s attorney, in an interview with CBS 58. “She was scared to death.”
For Anderson, as it would be for any Black woman in a similar situation, her terror was justified.
“The only thought that was going through my mind the entire time, was if you move, at all, they will have a reason to shoot you,” Anderson told CBS 58.
Anderson is emotionally suffering from the impacts of her violent experience with Glendale police. She said she still has panic attacks; she also cries and shakes every time she sees an officer, or even a squad car.
“This is something that I see all the time, everywhere, that African-Americans are being stopped for no reason and police officers aren’t being held accountable for the situations when they are wrong,” Anderson said. “I just want it to stop. I just want them to know this is not OK.”
Read more at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.