Des Moines to pay Black driver $25,000 after he caught police stop on camera
Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 10/4/2018, 9:29 a.m.
An African-American driver who videotaped an officer he says pulled him over without reason will be paid $25,000 to settle a lawsuit in a case critics say provides further evidence of racial profiling within the Des Moines Police department, reports the Des Moines Register. The nearly 13-minute cell phone video — obtained exclusively by the Des Moines Register — shows Lonnie Porter of Des Moines predicting he would be pulled over several minutes before the Dec. 6 stop. Porter, 41, was never issued a citation during the roughly eight-minute stop. Officer Sean O’Neill, who pulled over Porter, says on the video that he made the stop because a temporary license on the vehicle wasn't fully visible. The video shows that the paper license — common on a new vehicle purchase — was displayed in the back window of the vehicle. Porter contended during the police stop and in his lawsuit that O’Neill’s justification for pulling him over was bogus. “You can’t see the date?” Porter asks the officer on the video before looking into his cell phone, streaming the stop live on Facebook. “I get it. I get it. I get it. You see what I’m talking about, Facebook?” Des Moines police deny wrongdoing in the matter. “O'Neill has an outstanding performance record and has no pending complaints or administrative reviews,” Des Moines Sgt. Paul Parizek said. “For what it's worth, I know Sean and have seen his work. He is professional, acts with integrity and is sincere in his commitment to serving our community.” O’Neill was named in a federal lawsuit earlier this year that alleged he failed to intervene when another officer, Cody Grimes, attacked a Des Moines man. Porter’s video is the second in the past two months accusing Des Moines Police of profiling. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a public advocacy group, released a video Aug. 15 in a separate lawsuit by two young Black men who say they were handcuffed and searched without a warrant or probable cause. Des Moines Senior Officer Kyle Thies stopped the two men July 15. The group launched an online petition that has been signed by more than 1,200 people calling for the city to end racial profiling. The Des Moines Police Dept. announced soon after that video's release that it is conducting an administrative review of the stop and others by Thies.