Black man sues police after he was mistaken for white suspect, arrested — Analysis

According to the man, he was mixed up by two police agencies with an older white suspect.

A Nevada man is suing two US police departments after he was arrested for a firearms offense he didn’t commit. The police mistakenly believed he was another person, even though he is black and one of the men is white.

Henderson, Nevada police arrested Shane Lee Brown (now 25) at a January 2020 traffic stop. He didn’t have his license with him, so he told the officers his name and social security number. According to police, he had an alleged felony bench warrant for possessing a firearm. Brown was held by Henderson police for 2 days before being transferred to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

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Brown was not arrested on firearms charges. When the police at the traffic stop searched for ‘Shane Brown’, they discovered a file on Shane Neal Brown, who was 49 years old at the time and had a criminal record dating back to before Shane Lee Brown was born. Shane Neal Brown (who is also black) is different to Shane Lee Brown.

ABC News reported that Brown attempted to notify the officers about their error, but failed. Likewise, the LVMPD wasn’t “bothered to review its own records to determine whether Shane Lee Brown was the subject of the warrant,”The lawsuit states that.

After his arrest in Clark County District Court, Brown was finally released by the judge.

Now, he is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 and $500,000 respectively under federal and state laws. His lawsuit also alleges civil rights violations, negligent prosecution, and other unjustified conduct from both the police and military departments.

“Had any of the LVMPD police or corrections officers performed any due diligence, such as comparing Shane Lee Brown’s booking photo against the existing mugshot belonging to the white ‘Shane Brown’ named in the warrant, they would have easily determined that Shane Lee Brown has been misidentified,”The lawsuit was read.

Yet, in another twist to the story, the Henderson Police Department said that Brown’s arrest was actually lawful, as he had been driving on a suspended license and was wanted for failing to pay a fine issued by Henderson Municipal Court. However, Brown’s attorney told ABC News that the police still arrested him on the wrong warrant, and that Brown had arranged a court date to clear up his own legal trouble.

“From one standpoint, yes, they could have arrested him and be rightfully arrested for traffic,”E. Brent Bryson was the attorney. “He was wrongfully detained and arrested, however … for the felony possession of a firearm.”

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