TAMPA, Fla. — A local father feels he was racially profiled last month when he was pulled over by officers with the Tampa Police Department after a USF football game.
Adrain Vickers said he had just left a Saturday night game against the Cincinnati Bearcats with his two teenage kids when he was pulled over for a traffic stop.
The incident was all captured on video as an officer stated he was pulled over for having a paper tag on his new Gs350 Lexus.
“That night I was treated like a criminal, I was treated like a criminal, and I felt like a criminal and I know I don’t do anything,” said Vickers.
The original video posted to social media had nearly one million views. We have chosen to blur the officers’ faces for now until the investigation is complete.
Local father believes traffic stop was racially motivated
Vickers told ABC Action News that he didn’t know he was the one about to pulled over as officers were speeding in an unmarked cruiser and blew through a red light with no lights or sirens to get to him.
He claimed in the video he tapped his brakes because he thought they were kids driving recklessly.
“You ran the red light, and I’m like ‘look at these teenagers running a red light,’ teaching my sons not to drive like that. But instead, you got behind me because I hit on the brakes because I thought you were teenagers driving aggressively and I was teaching my kids not to drive like that,” Vickers told the officer in the video.
Once officers pulled him over, they asked for IDs from Vickers, and then from his sons.
Vickers pulled his out, but said his kids, who are 13 and 16, didn’t have identification.
The officer and Vickers then got into an argument before the officer grabbed the ID out of Vickers hand.
“I have the right to ask everyone in the car for an ID. Let’s get this straight, you don’t run this scene, I run this scene. It’s that simple,” the officer said in the video.
Vickers asked the officer why he was being pulled over. They told him it’s because his car was not registered. Vickers then told them he’s only had the Lexus for 3 weeks and that he bought it from a local dealership — there was a temporary tag on the vehicle.
“This is a brand new car. I just bought this car,” Vickers told the officer in the video.
Another officer then went over to ask for his ID and could also be heard telling Vickers, “just so you know, you have spike strips under your tires so if you try and take off… I just wanted you to know that so you don’t try to take off and burst your tire.”
Within minutes, several other officers showed up and surround the car. One officer from the passenger window could be heard saying, “I really feel bad for these poor kids, being taught by such ignorance. Deep down inside, I wish I could help you guys but I fear you’re beyond help.”
Vickers told his son to not respond to that.
“When my sons heard them say they can take them to jail you can hear them saying ‘take them to jail?’ I’m pretty much all they have here other than the grandmother,” VIckers told us.
Vickers was eventually cited but ABC Action News has now learned the citation was canceled by the district commander with the Tampa Police Department. Brian Dugan, the Tampa Chief of Police, reached out to Vickers and has opened an internal investigation into the matter.
The Public Information Officer for the department added, “we are aware of the video and the event is currently being investigated by our Professional Standards Bureau. As stated, we have high expectations of professionalism for all officers at all times. Further details will be provided once the investigation is concluded.”
After posting the video to Facebook, Vickers’ son adds, “my father works way too hard to be treated like that. I would never think anything like this would ever happen to us.”
“I am stressed out, I’m paranoid, I feel violated, my kids I feel for them,” said Vickers. “That next day, by boys are normally upstairs in their room on their devices or watching TV on the computer. That whole next day they were downstairs with me.”
He said the dealership he bought the car from gave him and his family 4 tickets to see the Lakers as an apology.
“They blessed us with four tickets and we went and we were like 15 rows back and seeing LeBron — I was able to wave at him and get video of him,” Vickers said.
The President of the NAACP Hillsborough County Branch, Yvette Lewis, sent a statement about the video,
“We have issues with the initial stop because it has implications of racial profiling. The tone of the initial officer was disrespectful, and the stop seemed overly excessive. This could have easily escalated to something worse and that’s not what we want in the City of Tampa. The NAACP was notified by the Chief of police and the Major about the video and the internal investigation and we commend them for bringing the information to us, stepping up and addressing it immediately. We think TPD needs to have additional racial training to ensure the safety of people in the future.”