Wisconsin police drew their guns on a black man and placed him in handcuffs this week — after a neighbor falsely assumed the man was burglarizing the home where he had been staying, according to new reports.
Keonte Furdge, 23, who was recently laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic, had been staying for a few days with his friend, former University of Iowa running back Toren Young, in a house in the city of Monona, local outlet Madison 365 reported.
The home is owned by an assistant football coach at Monona Grove High School — where Furdge graduated in 2016. The coach’s mom had lived at the home until she passed away recently.
Furdge told the outlet he was on the porch Tuesday morning speaking on the phone with a friend. About 20 minutes later, he went back inside and heard cops enter and start shouting.
Police said in a statement that a woman called to report “there was someone at her neighbors [sic] home that she did not believe should be there.”
Authorities said the caller “did identify the individual sitting in front of the home as African American, however that was not conveyed to the responding officers.”
Police said they knocked before entering, but Furdge told the local outlet he didn’t hear anything.
“I didn’t hear anything,” he said. “I wasn’t wearing my AirPods. I was just laying in the bed. And then they … announced themselves, ‘Monona Police.’ I was like, ‘OK, what’s going on?’ And once I said that, they said, ‘Come out with your hands up.’ So I came out with my hands up.”
“They said, ‘Is there anyone else in the home? Do you have any weapons?’” he said. “I was like, ‘No, I don’t have anything. What are you talking about? What’s going on?’”
They then asked Furdge if he was allowed to be in the home. He explained that his coach had given him permission to stay there, but “they didn’t put the guns down,” he told the outlet.
Two officers were inside the home with their guns drawn, another outside the bedroom window — also with a weapon out — plus two or three others outside, Furdge said.
Furdge said he was handcuffed for about five minutes before cops were able to confirm with the homeowner’s son that he wasn’t an intruder after all, according to the report.
Officers apologized and left, but Furdge and Young later went to police headquarters to file a complaint.
“We explained our frustrations, and the officers explained they were just following protocol and that this was all a misunderstanding,” Young posted to Facebook.
“They were right in the fact that this was a misunderstanding, but this is [a] misunderstanding that we as a community can not accept nor afford. All it took was one wrong move and the outcome would have been very different. We can do better than this!”
“While speaking to two of the officers, they mentioned it is very common for them to get calls from members of the community because they fear black people,” he added.
In a statement, the City of Monona said the incident will be “properly investigated by an outside organization.”
“To our African American neighbors and those that visit our community, please know that we value your perspective and experiences on how we can improve,” the statement said. “The fact that this incident occurred in the aftermath of the tragic death of George Floyd and the recent protests across the country regarding social justice only reinforces our need to evaluate how we operate in Monona.”