D.C. police accused of staging search to conduct stop and frisk outside barbershop


D.C. police are facing accusations that it staged a search outside of a barbershop in order to conduct a stop and frisk.

The incident, captured on video, occurred on June 13 outside Nook’s Barbershop in the 5200 block of Sheriff Road, NE.

Officers searched a man who had just walked up and who locals said they didn’t know and found a gun – a BB gun police now say.

"So everybody listen lets calm down, OK?” the police officer said in the video. “Now, I'm definitely going to need your ID, but you're not in any trouble right now.”

The bystanders who do not want to be identified said they couldn't believe how casual police were, including the one who shot the video.

"I think it was a setup,” one bystander told ABC7. “I think he was sent right here just so they could get probable cause to search and frisk us."

They said the man was allowed to walk away, while police insisted on searching everybody else standing or sitting in front a barbershop. They called in reinforcements when they objected and ultimately nothing.

The local ANC commissioner is outraged.

"For some reason, D.C. police believe the idea of community policing is to take our grandmothers out for donuts and coffee,” ANC commissioner Anthony Lorenzo Green said, “and take out little kids to jump on moon bounces, but when it comes out young black men and women, they treat them as enemies."

MPD chief Peter Newsham Monday criticized misinformation on social media.

"We're going to take a real close look at body worn cameras and see if there’s any inappropriate behavior by our officers, but just to people know, that was not an undercover officer,” Newsham said. “A BB gun was recovered from him, we identified him at the time, we could have charged him with a BB gun offense, but we did not."

Representatives of the ACLU were also on the scene today questioning police motives.

“The Metropolitan Police Department seems to think that one person having a gun seems to give them to right to search everybody in violation of the Fourth Amendment,” Monica Hopkins of the ACLU said.

The ACLU says it is talking to witnesses, hopes to talk to the police. As for whether it plans any type of lawsuit, the only response ABC7 received was that Bowser and Newsham would be the first to know.

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