Darren Cooper is seeking to file charges against an unidentified woman, who called the police on him, falsely accusing him of carrying a gun in a parking lot in Ravenna, Ohio.
On Aug. 13, Cooper, a Hudson resident, arrived at a parking lot in Ravenna at 15 minutes before his 9 a.m. for job training meeting and was waiting in his car, drinking tea and talking on his cellphone. It was then the Ravenna police pulled into the parking lot.
'Put Your Hands Up'
Initially, he didn't think anything was wrong but that's until he spotted a fourth officer. The officers approached the car, yelling "Put your hands up!"
It turns out that a woman had called the Ravenna Police Department from a dentist's office across the street, saying that a man was sitting in a black Mustang with a gun. The woman did not reveal her contact details to the 911 responder.
"I really believe he was holding a pistol," she said at one point during the call, and then later said, "I'm pretty darn sure it's a pistol."
Although Cooper has a concealed-carry weapons permit, he wasn't carrying a firearm at the time. The only thing he had in his hand was his cell phone, on which he was talking to someone on speakerphone.
Cooper, who was the only African-American man in a Mustang in the parking lot, said he fails to understand how the caller would have spotted a gun in his hand, especially from across the street. The caller also wrongly identified the vehicle as black when it was dark grey.
"But if you don't know the exact color of my vehicle, how do you know I had a gun?" Cooper questioned in an interview with the Record-Courier.
Cooper Says His Life Was On the Line
The officers who responded to the woman's call had at least two guns unholstered when they approached Cooper, according to the video footage. Upon investigation, the officers did not find any weapons and apologized to Cooper for the mix-up. However, the incident has left him angry because he nearly lost his life over the false accusation made by the woman.
"I am happy to be able to share this story because my wife almost lost a husband, and my kids almost lost their father, over someone who thought I had a gun, but it was my iPhone, and the person did not have the correct color of my car," Cooper said. "When someone's life is on the line, as mine clearly was, attention to detail is of the utmost importance."
Woman Could Face Charges for Filing a False Report
Cooper said on Friday that he is considering filing charges and had spoken to Capt. Jake Smallfield, a spokesman for the Ravenna Police Department, and officers had dispatched a detective to speak to the caller.
If Cooper does decide to file charges against the woman for filing a false report, a misdemeanor charge of the first-degree, she could be facing up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine if convicted of the offense.
"They didn't come at me with excessive force, but the person who filed the false police report should be charged," Cooper said.