“Can you tell me why I’m being arrested?” Hamza Jeylani asks an officer in a video captured on his cell phone.
“Because I feel like arresting you,” the officer, who the American Civil Liberties Union identifies as Officer Rod Webber, replies in the short video.
This exchange happens after Webber calmly threatens Jeylani, who does not appear to be offering any resistance whatsoever. “Plain and simple,” Webber tells Jeylani, “if you fuck with me I’m going to break your legs before you even get a chance to run.”
According to the ACLU, Jeylani and four of his friends — all of whom are black teenagers — were pulled over after making a U-turn in a parking lot in South Minneapolis. The four young men had been playing basketball at a YMCA. Despite Officer Webber’s statement that Jeylani was arrested because the cop felt like arresting him, the police claim that they suspected the four youth of stealing the car they were driving.
Jeylani, however, says that the driver of the car had documents showing that he owned the car. And the ACLU adds that “police said the stolen car they were after was a blue Honda Civic. The teenagers, however, were driving a blue Toyota Camry.”
The video of Jeylani’s arrest was released alongside a report detailing racial arrest patterns in Minneapolis. It concludes that African Americans in Minneapolis “are 8.7 times more likely than white people to be arrested for low-level offenses, like trespassing, disorderly conduct, consuming in public, and lurking.” Meanwhile, Native Americans are “8.6 times more likely to be arrested for low-level offenses than white people.”