Police in Wisconsin have apologized to a black man they placed in handcuffs after falsely suspecting him of burglarizing a house he was renting.
The Monona Police Department said they received a call from someone living in the 5100 block of Arrowhead Drive on Tuesday, June 2, that someone was at her neighbour’s home who she did not believe should be there.
Detailing the call in a press statement, Monona Police said the woman explained that the previous resident of the home had recently died and it had been vacant ever since.
The woman did identify the individual seen at her neighbor’s home as an African American male, however, that was not conveyed to the responding officers, the department said.
When officers arrived at the scene, they found the front door of the home to be unsecured. Officers knocked and announced their presence, but no one came to greet them. The officers said they could hear someone talking inside the home.
Believing that a possible burglary was taking place, police then entered the home with their weapons drawn as per protocol, according to the department. Officers then made contact with a 23-year-old black male and placed him in handcuffs while they investigated.
The man explained that he was renting the house from the son of the recently deceased owner. Police then contacted the son of the previous owner, who confirmed that a friend of the man in handcuffs was renting the home and that he knew the 23-year-old.
“Given the circumstances, the handcuffs were removed from the subject, Officers apologized for the misunderstanding and they cleared from the call,” Monona Police Chief Walter J. Ostrenga said in a statement.
Soon after, the 23-year-old and the son then attended the Monona Police Department and filed a complaint. One of the officers who attended the house on the day in question then met both men and apologized again for the incident, the police department stated.
“The Monona Police Department is committed to creating an environment of trust and empathy in all our interactions between the public and our peace officers. This complaint will be thoroughly investigated,” Ostrenga added.
The news follows a number of high-profile incidents in the U.S. in which police have been called on to confront black people despite no crime being committed.
Last month, a New York woman was heavily criticized over a viral video which showed her calling the police on Christian Cooper in Central Park, who was out bird watching.
Amy Cooper, who has since apologized, lost her job over the incident in which she can be heard telling Cooper that she will call 911 and say an African American man is “recording me and threatening myself and my dog” after he asked her to leash her pet in an area of the park where it is required to do so.