DARIEN, Conn. – An online petition is calling for the Darien Police Department to apologize to a Bridgeport man who says he was a target of racial profiling in town. But the Darien police chief says his officers acted in a professional manner and have nothing to apologize for, according to multiple media accounts.
Earlier this week, Matthew McGee was commuting by bike to his job as a cook at the Tokeneke Country Club in Darien. He was followed by a police cruiser and then pulled over by an officer — a burglary is mentioned as the officer and McGee talk politely, the video shows.
McGee made three videos of the encounter with his cellphone — "I hope I got enough memory," he says at one point as a backup officer arrives.
On one video, McGee includes the note, "They ran my name and told me there was a string of robberies in the area. How am I gonna rob houses on a 10-speed bike. ... Racial profiling is real in 2016 and they said racism didn't exist."
A online petition was started Thursday asking the Darien Police Department to apologize to McGee, saying he was the target of racial profiling, and calling for the department's officers to undergo racial sensitivity training.
"There are clearly vehicles driving by that could be asked the same thing. Did he fit the description of the burglar or were they just asking what he saw doing his bike ride to work? You decide!!," says the post at Care2 Petitions.
"At a time when police need to be building bridges of trust it is things like this that continue to perpetuate more mistrust amongst the Black community and law enforcement nationwide<" the post says. "Someone does not have to be shot or killed to highlight a longstanding issue in our communities. This man felt violated, fearful, confused, and sad all at once."
Darien Police Chief Duane Lovello told News12 Connecticut that the officers were professional, that they did nothing wrong and that there is to apologize for.
First Selectman Jayme Stevenson told the Darien News that the stop seen in the video was part of a larger neighborhood canvas investigating burglaries in the area. Officers spoke to many people in the neighborhood that day, said Stevenson, who also noted the interaction with McGee was very professional.
McGee rides his bike to the train station in Bridgeport, then hops on a train to the Darien area, then rides his bike from the station to his job on a private road.
Click here to view the petition at Care2 Petitions. Click here to see all three videos that McGee made. Click here to read the story at the News12 Connecticut website. Click here to read the story at the Darien News.
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