Tony Smith v. Minneapolis Police Department

The Complainant filed a charge alleging discrimination in the area of public service based on his race. The following explains his case: As the Complaint was driving home from work and arriving outside of his apartment building, the Respondent Officer stopped the Complainant in his vehicle because of a broken taillight. The Complainant did not respond to the Respondent’s questions. The Respondent’s investigation then revealed that the Complainant had a clean record and he was not under the influence of drugs.

The Complainant did not actively acknowledge the Respondent Officer’s commands or presence. The Respondent Officer took the Complainant’s silence and physical demeanor as signs that the Complainant was suffering from a medical or psychological condition and needed medical attention. The Respondent Officer arrested the Complainant, citing that the Complainant posed a danger to himself or others. The Respondent Officer thus handcuffed the non-responsive Complainant through the use of a taser. The Complainant was released from HCMC the following afternoon.

The Department held that, the Respondent’s initial stop was valid, but the Respondent’s prolonged detention and treatment of the Complainant was so at variance with what would reasonably be anticipated absent discrimination that discrimination was the probable explanation.

The Complainant was awarded $40,000 for the mental anguish he suffered as a result of the Respondent’s actions. The Complainant also received a letter of apology from the Respondent and its agreement to conduct a policy review on the proper use of Conducted Energy Devices, particularly in non-violent situations.

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