A Charlottesville man says he was racially profiled and injured by city police during a recent encounter that did not result in any charges.
LaQuinn Gilmore, a local musician, filed an internal affairs complaint with the department with the assistance of attorney Jeff Fogel. The department declined to comment on the case and has not released body camera footage of the incident.
On the night of Jan. 11, according to Gilmore, he was driving home when he started to feel nauseated. Gilmore said the nausea has been recurring since he was given antibiotics for a hand injury.
Gilmore pulled over on Monticello Avenue, he said, opened his car door, got out and vomited. At that point, a police officer approached him.
“I figure he must have thought I was drunk, but it wasn’t the kind of vomiting that you get when you’re drunk and I told [the officer] that I was sick from my antibiotics,” he said.
As the officer kept approaching him and trying to talk, Gilmore said, he decided to leave his parked car and walk to his brother’s house. Gilmore said he felt like he was being racially profiled and was being targeted for “walking while Black.”
Gilmore took videos as he was walking, two of which were shared with the Daily Progress. In one of the videos, Gilmore can be heard telling the officer that he is a paralegal and knows his rights.
“This officer is harassing me,” Gilmore says in the footage, pointing the camera toward the officer, who then asks him to put the phone down and appears to move to push it away.
In the second clip, video footage freezes, but Gilmore can be heard saying that he has not done anything wrong, and towards the end of the clip asks the officer why he’s following him and tells him not to touch him.
“Oh my God I just told you I’ve been at the hospital, man, I just told you,” Gilmore yells just before the clip ends.
According to Gilmore, after the footage was shot he was tackled by at least three city police officers, who knelt on him and injured him. Gilmore’s brother, who had been watching his livestream of the encounter, came outside and the officers “peeled” off without detaining or charging Gilmore, Gilmore said.
Gilmore went to the University of Virginia Medical Center emergency room and says he was diagnosed with a closed head injury, a concussion, contusions on his lower legs, acute bilateral lower back pain and acute post-traumatic headaches, among other injuries.
Gilmore was not charged after the incident.
Gilmore says he thinks the encounter would have ended differently if he was not Black.
“When you’re on antibiotics and you don’t eat, it’s going to make you nauseous,” Gilmore said. “When the officer approached, he didn’t even ask if I was OK, he just told me to get back in the car.”
With the assistance of attorney Jeff Fogel, Gilmore filed an internal affairs complaint with the city police department.
Gilmore is unsure how many officers were involved in the encounter but estimates between three and five. Because Gilmore is also unsure of all the names of the officers involved, Fogel requested a photo line-up of officers for Gilmore to identify, a request Fogel said was denied.
“They told me, ‘No, we don’t do that,’ which doesn’t make me very comfortable,” Fogel said. “If you want to know who somebody is, and you have the class of people who it has to be and you don’t want to show it, why not?”
Fogel said he wants the officer-worn body camera footage from the incident released. Charlottesville Chief of Police RaShall Brackney has allowed the release of body camera footage twice in the last year, once to shed light on an incident involving an arrest on the Downtown Mall and again to add context to a situation of alleged racial profiling.
Gilmore said he has been contacted by an investigator for the Internal Affairs Office but does not know when they expect to release their findings.
According to the department’s IA policy, investigators have 45 days to complete the investigation but can request an extension if needed. Once the investigation is completed, it is then sent to Brackney for approval and potential public release.