Samuel Scott Jr: Black man files lawsuit against police over arrest for ‘stealing’ own car

Scott reported incident to police because he believed they would help him but instead he was ‘racially profiled’, says lawyer

Stuti Mishra
Thursday 18 November 2021 10:30

Video footage showed the exchange between police officers and Samuel Scott Jr during his arrest in 2018

A Miami resident has filed a lawsuit against Florida police after they arrested him for “stealing” his own car three years ago.

Samuel Scott Jr called the police in June 2018 to report that his Jeep Compass had been stolen. However, an hour later, the police arrived and arrested him for theft.

In body camera footage, Mr Scott can be seen handcuffed by the police as they tell him that he matches the description of the person who stole the car.

“I’m telling you, you guys have the wrong guy,” the 44-year-old Black man says, according to the footage accessed by the Miami New Times. “I can confirm where I was, and I can even confirm my activities.” But the police officer insisted that “the description of the guy who took off in your car is just like yours”.

To this, Mr Scott responded: “But that’s half of Miami.”

According to the complaint, the police’s description of the perpetrator was “Black male, bald, about 6ft 2in and heavyset, with a white tank top”.

“I called because my car got stolen,” Mr Scott said as he laughed at the situation, adding: “I mean, why would I call the police?” He later asked: “Why am I in handcuffs?”

In the video, Mr Scott constantly mentioned his children and said that they would be home soon. He added that all his items were in the car when it got stolen.

However, the police charged him with leaving the scene of an accident, false reporting of a crime, failure to carry a concealed-weapon licence, and possession of cannabis, according to details of the lawsuit published by the Miami New Times.

Eventually the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office dropped the charges and Mr Scott was freed.

Now, three years later, he is suing the city of Miami and officers Jonathan Guzman, Michael Bloom, Brandon Williams, Miguel Hernandez, and Randy Carriel for interrogating and arresting him “as if he had stolen his own vehicle”.

Mr Scott’s allegations include unlawful search, false imprisonment, and malicious prosecution. He has sought $500,000 (£370,000) in damages.

“He reported to the cops because he believed that the cops were actually going to assist him,” his attorney, Faudlin Pierre said. “And then it turns out that they racially profiled him.”

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