A Royal Oak police internal investigation is underway after a controversial incident Tuesday evening that was recorded live on Facebook.
The department confirmed the investigation to 7 Action News Wednesday afternoon while declining an interview request.
The person behind the cell phone claims a black man was questioned by police for looking “suspiciously” at a white woman as he crossed the street.
“I am in Royal Oak Michigan,” the witness recording video said. “I was going to the CVS over here when this young man was stopped because a Caucasian lady said that he looked at her suspiciously and he has been pulled over walking to go to eat by two police officers for suspicion of being black.”
The woman who shot the video and narrates it claims the white woman called police while watching the man from her car, which was across the street.
A black man who identifies himself to officers as a 20-year-old is shown being questioned by Royal Oak police.
The man who says he was walking into Inn Season Cafe at 4th and Knowles in Royal Oak, even apologized to officers for the inconvenience.
“By the way, I’m sorry for wasting your guys’ time,” the man in the video says.
The man can eventually be heard saying, “They need to make a warning sign for Royal Oak: ‘Don’t stare too long.’”
The narrator follows saying, “No, don’t be black and stare.” The narrator also suggest the man was walking across the street to meet his girlfriend in the restaurant when police were called on him.
Four minutes into the video more officers arrive along with a supervisor. The man was eventually allowed to go.
The restaurant’s general manager witnessed the questioning and can be heard telling the officer in the video, “If that were me walking across the street and walking in, this would not be happening because I was looking at her.”
The restaurant paid for the man’s meal inside according to an employee at the restaurant.
Royal Oak police declined Action News’ request for an interview and declined to provide any information on this other than confirming there is an internal investigation.
Royal Oak Mayor Michael Fournier responded to the incident with the below statement:
The city of Royal Oak takes nothing more seriously than our responsibility to provide public safety with the highest level of integrity and transparency. We are passionate about being a city that lives and acts according to our values and one where all people from all walks of life, from all racial and ethnic backgrounds feel not just safe, but welcome and embraced as members of our community. We absolutely recognize that racial bias exists and we as a community aspire to be among those working every day to combat it. But, this is not just the work of our officers and public officials alone, but all of us, individually and as a community must put in the effort to recognize and come to terms with our own personal prejudices and biases. We are in the process of evaluating what mistakes have been made and we will own them, we will learn from them, and we will continue to strive to be better in everything we do.