- Darris Love and his girlfriend were at a shopping mall in suburban Los Angeles
- Love was running to get parking validated when officers held him at gunpoint
- The 39-year-old actor says he was racially profiled as a suspect in a burglary
- His lawyer says he was held for seven hours despite evidence he wasn’t near the crime scene
An African-American actor is planning to file a lawsuit after he says he was racially profiled and wrongfully arrested as a suspect in a burglary ring last week.
Darris Love his girlfriend Ayesha Dumas, who is also black, were at a shopping at a mall in suburban Los Angeles last Wednesday when he was arrested.
The 38-year-old actor and his girlfriend, 39, were both detained after a suspected burglary ring led sheriff’s deputies on a pursuit from Tarzana to the Glendale Galleria mall, which is about 20 miles away.
Love’s lawyer said his client was held for hours despite evidence that he was nowhere near the crime scene.
Love – whose credits include Straight Outta Compton and CSI – had been running to the Apple store at the The Americana at Brand mall, which is near the Glendale Galleria, when he was arrested at gunpoint.
At a news conference, Love said he was terrified when he was surrounded by deputies.
‘It’s been hard sleep from having a gun pulled on you… slammed to the ground, knee on your neck,’ he said.
‘When you got 12 police officers coming at you with guns drawn and you freeze for a moment but then you have to realize If you do anything wrong, breathe wrong, look wrong – you could be dead.’
Officers at the mall were unaware Dumas was with Love, but moved in on her car as she waited for his return.
She was held at gunpoint with a K-9 dog barking at her, she said, to come out. Her car was searched and she was detained for an hour.
‘We were just shopping, just doing what normal people do in the mall,’ Love told the news conference, accompanied by Melina Abdullah, one of the national founders of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Love said he had urged police to look at the mall’s security footage and his parking stub.
He was eventually released after seven hours in custody, his attorney James Bryant said, according to NBC News.
Police failed to do ‘any number of things’ to determine Love was not a suspect in the case, Bryant said.
Love said he and his girlfriend plan to file a claim with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department before a civil lawsuit.
He is also starting a social media campaign with the hashtag #IAmNotASuspect.
Love added: ‘The worst part about it all is that you have to give your innocent to the police officers for them to do their job.
‘In this day and time, the reason why we fear for our lives is because it usually doesn’t go quite so well.
‘Most people don’t live to tell their story. I’m here to tell my story… in the public eye, not behind bars and that is a miracle in itself.’
In a statement, the sheriff’s department said an officer saw Love running near where the car chase had ended.
Love ‘closely resembled’ one of the men seen leaving the house in Tarzana, it said.
But Bryant said Love and Dumas are still considering the role of Glendale police in their case.
‘We feel [Love] was just randomly picked out and racially profiled by Glendale police,’ he said.