A former security guard at a Florida theme park allegedly acted like a “vigilante” when he accosted a black 18-year-old, falsely detained him and claimed in a call to 911 that the teen was seen on video “breaking into cars,” according to a report.
The teen was riding his bike to basketball practice on June 8 when Luis Santos, 54, who quit his job as a security officer months earlier, drove up alongside him and peppered him with questions, ABC News reported.
“You work here? You live here?” Santos asked him as he recorded the encounter with a cellphone, according to excerpts released by prosecutors, the network reported.
After the teen provided his nearby address, Santos stepped out of his vehicle and told him he was detaining him.
“You’re not going anywhere,” he said in the 30-second clip, which ended with the young man saying he was “sorry,” ABC News reported.
The driver then called 911 and claimed the teen was seen on video “breaking into cars” and that he thought he had stolen a bicycle – but prosecutors with the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office said there was no evidence that any crimes had been committed.
Santos identified himself on the phone as an off-duty officer, but he has not been accused of impersonation because his security officer license actually expired about a week later, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
Despite that, Santos still had no legal authority to stop the teen, prosecutors said. The case is not being classified as a hate crime, ABC News reported.
Santos, who listed his employment as a shop assistant in Tampa, classified himself as a white Hispanic, according to jail records cited by the news outlet.
“What happened that morning should upset everyone in our community. We have skilled police officers — we don’t need vigilantes confronting people on the street,” State Attorney Andrew Warren said in a statement about what “appears to be a case of racial profiling.”
While waiting for police to arrive at the scene, the teen remained with his hands in the air and was terrified because Santos allegedly placed his hand over his pants pocket in a way that suggested he may have been armed, according to the criminal affidavit cited by ABC News.
Deputies “calmed the situation down and comforted the victim. Then they took this vigilante to task for what he’d done and referred the case to our office for potential charges,” Warren said.
Santos was charged with felony third-degree false imprisonment and released on $2,000 bond, according to jail records. If convicted, he could face up to five years behind bars.
Santos’ attorney Michelle Borton didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News.
Share this article:
Source: Read Full Article