Royal Oak Police Apologize For Stopping Black Man Who 'Stared At' White Woman; 911 Call Released

"This is not the practice of the Royal Oak Police Department and it is not acceptable," police said.

August 16, 2019 - 5:05 pm
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ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WWJ) - Officials with the Royal Oak Police Department are apologizing for some of their officers' behavior after a video circulating on social media shows them questioning a black man outside of a restaurant after he allegedly stared at a white woman.

A woman called Royal Oak police to the scene outside of the restaurant Inn Season Tuesday evening after she says the man, identified as 20-year-old Devin Myers, was staring at her and she felt threatened. Police said the caller reported Myers was circling her vehicle, staring at her from across the street and possibly taking pictures of her and her son. In total, according to police, Myers was verbally detained for just under 20 minutes.

Another woman in the area began filming the incident as police were questioning him. The video has been viewed more than 700,000 times and many are questioning the behavior of the police.

"If you're in Royal Oak, don't look -- police will pull up on you," says the woman shooting video. "This poor guy, he just wants to go get something to eat."

Royal Oak police issued an apology on behalf of the department, saying an internal investigation was conducted into the incident and the officers were out of line.

"What should have been a very short encounter was extended when the officer involved insisted on getting Mr. Myers’ identification. The officer had no legal right to demand the identification and should have simply advised Mr. Myers why we were there and allowed him to go on his way," police said in a statement. "The officer involved is a new, probationary officer and he made a mistake.  This officer will be provided with remedial training to address this issue."

"This is not the practice of the Royal Oak Police Department and it is not acceptable," police said.

Thursday evening police released the recording of the woman's 911 call. She says multiple times "I'm not feeling very comfortable right now."

Officials say early in Tuesday's encounter, Myers requested a supervisor make the scene. And though the first officer did not call for a supervisor, a second officer on scene did. 
 
"The responding supervisor did not handle this situation in a manner I expect Royal Oak supervisors to conduct themselves," the statement said. "He did quickly advise Mr. Myers that he was free to go; however, he did not effectively look into the situation or allow those present the opportunity to express their concerns."

Officials say the supervisor has been disciplined and every Royal Oak PD supervisor has received additional training in procedural justice. 

On Friday, Attorney General Dana Nesell announced that her Civil Rights Division will be investigating the matter. 

Read the full statement from the Royal Oak Police Department:

The Royal Oak Police Department has completed our internal investigation into the August 13 incident involving an African American man and the Royal Oak police.   On behalf of the police department, I would like to apologize to Mr. Myers for how he was treated.  What should have been a very short encounter was extended when the officer involved insisted on getting Mr. Myers’ identification. The officer had no legal right to demand the identification and should have simply advised Mr. Myers why we were there and allowed him to go on his way.  The officer involved is a new, probationary officer and he made a mistake.  This officer will be provided with remedial training to address this issue.  
 
Early in this encounter, Mr. Myers requested a supervisor make the scene.  Although the first officer did not call for a supervisor, the second officer on scene did. 
 
The responding supervisor did not handle this situation in a manner I expect Royal Oak supervisors to conduct themselves.  He did quickly advise Mr. Myers that he was free to go; however, he did not effectively look into the situation or allow those present the opportunity to express their concerns.  
 
This is not the practice of the Royal Oak Police Department and it is not acceptable.  The supervisor has been disciplined and every Royal Oak police supervisor has received additional training in procedural justice. 
 
This incident stemmed from a 911 call in which the caller reported she was uncomfortable because a male subject was circling her vehicle, staring at her from across the street, and was possibly taking pictures of her and her son.   In total, Mr. Myers was verbally detained for approximately 19 minutes.  A supervisor was called to the scene, per Mr. Myers request, about 6 minutes into the encounter and the supervisor arrived approximately 11 minutes later (17 minutes into the encounter).  Mr. Myers was advised he was free to go 2 minutes after that.      
 
This is an unfortunate incident where the ROPD did not live up to our own standards.  Corrective action has been taken and we will continue to hold all members of the ROPD to the highest standards.