"Driving While Black" Arrest Leads to Lawsuit Against Tempe

A man who says he was pulled over for a case of "driving while black" in Tempe plans to file a lawsuit against the city.

Anderson Jean-Louis, 29, recorded his encounter with Tempe police after being pulled over for playing his music too loud. Mind you, Jean-Louis was pulled over for playing music too loud while cruising down the city's bar street, Mill Avenue, on a Friday night.

See also: -"Driving While Black" on Mill Avenue? Cops Deny Man's Right to Record Traffic Stop

The bike cops who stopped Jean-Louis made him sit on a curb during the stop, which is when Jean-Louis started recording.

As you can see in the video, Tempe officer Lara Camberg grabs the phone out of Jean-Louis' hands while he's trying to record her. (New Times' Stephen Lemons, who initially wrote about this encounter, confirmed with the ACLU that people have the right to record such stops and confirmed with the Tempe PD that it's department policy to allow such recording.)

At that point, Jean-Louis produced another phone and caught a few more seconds of the encounter, as you can hear Camberg telling Jean-Louis not to resist being handcuffed.

Jean-Louis ended up being cited for the loud music, as well as resisting police and not producing his driver's license. Jean-Louis' arrest wasn't captured on his videos, but you can see in the video that Camberg is physically holding Jean-Louis' driver's license.

Tempe PD immediately began looking into the incident once a complaint was made on the same night as the arrest, though that investigation is not yet complete.

"We are just about finished with the internal investigation and all parties have been thoroughly interviewed," Tempe Lieutenant Michael Pooley tells New Times. "The officer involved, Officer Laura Camberg is currently responding to the allegations, therefore this case has not been officially adjudicated."

Jean-Louis, represented by local attorney Benjamin Taylor, plans to sue Tempe alleging that his civil rights were violated during the incident.

Local black activist the Revered Jarrett Maupin called the incident "shameful." He cited reports that the arrest rate for black people in Tempe seems unusually high.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley