Actor Darris Love had just finished shopping at the Apple store with his girlfriend, Ayesha Dumas, when he was accosted by police, thrown to the ground, and put into handcuffs. His crime? Trying to get his parking ticket validated.
After jogging back toward the store to get his card punched, Love was confronted by a group of officers from the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department who took him down.
“Have you ever had someone’s knee in your neck on the concrete?” Love said during a press conference about the incident. “That is the most excruciating pain ever.”
Unfortunately for Love, police were looking for three burglary suspects that led them on a high-speed chase in the area. When Love jumped out of his car and ran toward the store, officers thought he was one of the men trying to flee the scene.
Despite trying to explain that he was a shopper, not a suspect, Love said an officer claimed that “he was their guy.” Love said he was then detained for seven hours while police attempted to verify his story, which they eventually did by looking at surveillance video from the store.
While Love was being held, his girlfriend’s car was surrounded by officers, searched by police dogs, and the air conditioning unit was removed. Dumas was also questioned for more than hour before police let her go.
After he was released, Love said that his race was the only reason he was detained by police. He plans to file a lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Department for compensatory and punitive damages.
In a statement after the incident, the Sheriff’s Department denied racially profiling Love or acting inappropriately.
“Darris Love was detained by Glendale police at the mall and turned over to the LAPD after he was mistakenly identified by the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department as the possible suspect. He was in LAPD’s custody for less than three hours and was released after it was determined he was not the suspect,” the statement read.
Brian Dunn, Love’s attorney, said sheriff deputies were not only wrong, but by focusing all of their attention on the actor they let the real suspects get away.
“Because of their attention only to Mr. Love, this crime has not been solved,” Dunn said. “The bad guys got away, and the bad guys got away because [authorities] were so focused on this man.”