A woman wrongly called the cops on an unarmed black man sitting in his car in an Ohio parking lot where he was drinking tea and talking on his cellphone because she was ‘pretty darn sure’ he had a gun.
Darren Cooper was parked up outside the Portage County Job and Family Services in Ravenna ahead of a work training meeting last month when armed cops approached his vehicle and shouted at him to ‘put your hands up!’
Ravenna cops were responding to a 911 call from a woman in a dentist’s office across the street claiming a man was sitting in a black Mustang with a gun.
A search of the vehicle revealed the black father, who lives in Hudson and works for Summit County, was unarmed and simply speaking on loudspeaker on his cellphone at the time.
Cooper is calling for the woman to face charges over the false report, saying he is lucky to be alive and his ‘kids almost lost their father’.
A woman wrongly called the cops on an unarmed black man sitting in his car in an Ohio parking lot where he was drinking tea and talking on his cellphone because she was ‘pretty darn sure’ he had a gun. Pictured Darren Cooper being detained by cops
Darren Cooper was parked up outside the Portage County Job and Family Services in Ravenna ahead of a work training meeting in the building when armed cops approached his vehicle and shouted at him to ‘put your hands up!’ Pictured the incident as seen on the police bodycam
The incident unfolded on August 13 when Cooper was attending a training course at the Portage County Job and Family Services building in South Chestnut Street, Ravenna.
Cooper told the Akron Beacon Journal he had arrived early and signed in for the 9 a.m. course, so returned to his car in the parking lot at about 8:47 a.m.
He was drinking tea and talking on loudspeaker on his cellphone when he noticed cops pull up in the parking lot.
He told the Journal he didn’t think anything of the presence of cops at first because he regularly sees cops stationed at the government offices where he works.
Police bodycam footage of the incident captures what happened next as four cops are seen approaching Cooper shouting: ‘Put your hands up!’
Cooper puts his cellphone down and holds both his hands up where the cops can see them.
At least two of the cops have their firearms un-holstered, the footage reveals.
The officers then tell Cooper they are ‘going to tell you why we’re here’ and tell him to step out of his vehicle.
Cooper calmly follows their instructions, getting out the car and being detained by the cops.
The officers explain to him they are responding to reports of a man with a firearm in a Mustang in the parking lot.
Cooper tells them he was on his iPhone and that he does not have a gun in his possession.
‘Someone looked over and said “this guy in a Mustang is waving a gun around”,’ one of the cops is heard telling Cooper about the report.
The cop adds that when an officer arrived on the scene they said they thought he was only holding a smartphone.
A search of Cooper and his car revealed he has no firearm on him and that he was simply talking on speaker on his cellphone.
The black father does have a concealed-carry weapons permit, but was not carrying a gun at the time of the incident.
One of the cops is heard apologizing to Cooper as they leave a few minutes later.
‘Sorry to startle you,’ the cop says. ‘When we get a call like that we gotta…’
Cooper said the cops ‘didn’t come at me with excessive force’ but slammed the 911 caller for making a false report which could have cost him his life.
The woman, who has not been identified, said in the call she was ‘darn sure’ he was holding a gun.
‘I really believe he was holding a pistol,’ she said, according to the Journal.
‘I’m pretty darn sure it’s a pistol.’
The caller did not identify Cooper as a black man but identified his car as a Mustang.
Cooper said he was the only black man in the parking lot in a Mustang.
He told the Journal he doesn’t understand how the woman could have been able to see a gun in his hand from inside the dentist’s office when she could not even correctly identify the color of his car from where she was.
Cooper is calling for the woman to face charges over the false report, saying he is lucky to be alive and his ‘kids almost lost their father’. The incident unfolded on August 13 when Cooper was attending a training course at the Portage County Job and Family Services building in South Chestnut Street, Ravenna (pictured)
She identified his car as black when it is dark grey, he said.
‘But if you don’t know the exact color of my vehicle, how do you know I had a gun?’ Cooper said to the Journal.
Cooper blasted the caller for lack of ‘attention to detail’ and said his kids could have ‘lost their father’ because of the false accusation.
‘I am happy to be able to share this story because my wife almost lost a husband, and my kids almost lost their father, over someone who thought I had a gun, but it was my iPhone, and the person did not have the correct color of my car,’ Cooper said.
‘When someone’s life is on the line, as mine clearly was, attention to detail is of the utmost importance.’
Cooper added that he feels lucky to be alive given the current climate of black men being killed in police custody.
‘[The cops] didn’t come at me with excessive force, but the person who filed the false police report should be charged,’ he said.
‘It just wasn’t my time, it just didn’t happen.’
Ravenna Police Dpt said it does not plan to pursue charges against the woman and said both Cooper and the officers involved acted in a professional manner
Ravenna Police Department did not immediately return DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
However police spokesman Capt. Jake Smallfield told the Journal police did not plan to pursue charges against the woman because they did not want to discourage the public from sending in tips.
‘We want people to tell us if they see, or in this case, if they feel that they see somebody with a gun. We will, of course, investigate all those complaints,’ Smallfield said.
‘We would not in any way try to discourage people from calling us with tips such as that.
‘You know, we teach it in school, if you see something, say something. We rely heavily on tips.’
He said false report charges are usually filed for people making 15 to 20 calls in a single night, disrupting police services, rather than for a single call.
Smallfield added that both Cooper and all the officers involved acted in a professional way.
‘I think a lot of times we get into situations where one or more people could have overreacted. I think everyone acted professionally and civilly,’ he said.
Demonstrators raise their fist in the air during protests last month in Kenosha, Wisconsin over the shooting of Jacob Blake
Protesters at a makeshift memorial in LA last week following the shooting death of Dijon Kizzee by cops
The incident comes as tensions continue to build between law enforcement and black communities across America after several black men and women have been killed in police custody in recent months.
Thousands have taken to the streets demanding justice and calling for an end to police brutality and racism since May following the ‘murder’ of George Floyd by a Minneapolis cop who knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes until he passed out and died.
Floyd’s death reignited outrage over the death of Breonna Taylor, 26, who was shot eight times while sleeping in her bed when three plain clothes officers performed a no-knock arrest warrant at her Louisville apartment on March 13.
In June, unarmed father Rayshard Brooks was shot dead while he ran away from cops in the drive-thru of a Wendy’s restaurant in Atlanta.
On August 23, Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by a white cop in front of his three young children, leaving the father-of-six paralyzed from the waist down.
A week later on August 30, Dijon Kizzee, 29, was gunned down in the street by LA cops who allegedly shot him 20 times and then handcuffed his dead body after trying to pull him over for an alleged bicycle code violation.