Wisconsin cops smash into black woman's car with guns drawn after she arrives early to job interviewMilwaukee Journal Sentinel
October 16, 2018
Robin Anderson, 20, was sitting in her car at Bayshore Town Center, early for a job interview, when a Glendale police squad car slammed into her driver's side door.
The next thing she knew, an officer smashed her passenger side window, pointing a gun at her.
She sat stunned, with her hands up, telling herself: "Don't move or they'll shoot you."
The police ordered her to crawl over the broken glass and out of the car, where they handcuffed her, Anderson said in an interview.
Police say it was a case of mistaken identity. In a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Milwaukee, Anderson alleges it was racial profiling. The suit names the City of Glendale, officer William Schieffer and Detective Adam Wall as defendants.
Glendale city attorney John Fuchs said Monday he was unaware of the suit being filed and wasn't in a position to comment.
Robberies at cellphone stores
On that morning, Dec. 20, 2017, Glendale police had been alerted to a series of robberies at cellphone stores in Milwaukee, Brookfield, Mequon and Wauwatosa, according to the civil rights complaint. They had been told to be on the lookout for four African-American males in a black Hyundai Elantra. The notice also listed specific license plate numbers.
Anderson was parallel parked, with cars on either side of hers, in front of a cellphone store near Applebee's restaurant, where she was scheduled to interview for a job as a server. She was early, so the door of the restaurant was locked.
Anderson's car was a different model Hyundai, and her plates didn't match the suspicious ones, the complaint says. Also, no women were alleged to have been involved in the robberies, and none of the crimes had occurred in Glendale.
"The only thing Anderson had in common with the thieves is that she is also African-American," according to the suit, filed by attorney Mark Thomsen of Gingras, Cates & Wachs. "Had Anderson been white this would not have happened."
The Police Department later apologized to her father, Anderson said. They paid to replace her window, but not to fix the dents in her car.
Anderson, who was raised in Milwaukee and went to school in Menomonee Falls, said she has never had a negative interaction with police before. Since the incident, she has suffered panic attacks, shaking and crying every time she sees an officer or squad car.
She hopes her suit will prevent other people from having to go through what she did.
"This is something that I see all the time, everywhere, that African-Americans are being stopped for no reason and police officers aren't being held accountable for the situations when they are wrong," she said. "I just want it to stop. I just want them to know this is not OK."