DeJuan Haynes has filed a lawsuit against the Des Moines Police Department after two police officers pulled him over and illegally searched his vehicle in July.
On July 26, Haynes, who is African-American, was driving his vehicle in Des Moines’ River Bend neighborhood when two police officers saw him stop his vehicle briefly in the street. The officers were heading in the opposite direction, but made a U-turn and turned on their lights as they caught up to Haynes. He said he pulled over and kept his hands visible as the officers approached his vehicle.
According to the lawsuit, officer Ryan Steinkamp asked Haynes what he was doing. Haynes told him he had stopped to give a friend some change. The other officer, Brian Minnehan, then asked Haynes about his cracked windshield. Haynes told him that he had been pulled over for the crack in the past and that officers told them it wasn’t an issue as long as it didn’t block his view.
One officer asked Haynes if he had anything illegal in the vehicle and he said he didn’t. Steinkamp asked Haynes to step out of the vehicle and then handcuffed him and frisked him. He then told Haynes to spread his feet and told him to be honest if he had anything in his groin area.
After Haynes told the officer he could undo his belt to search his pockets, Steinkamp allegedly stuck his hands in his pants and touched his privates.
Haynes was eventually let go and didn’t receive any citations.
Gina Messamer, Hayne’s lawyer, said the violation of his rights was “oppressive, conniving, harsh, cruel, and or tyrannical.”
The lawsuit alleges that both of the officers have a history of disproportionately detaining African-Americans.
Bridget Fagan-Reidburn, a community organizer with Iowa CCI, watched the video of the search and said it was another example of racially biased policing in the Des Moines area.
“We’re going to see more and more of these lawsuits if we don’t do something,” she said. “This does exist.”