Police Detain Michigan Man on Thanksgiving for ‘Walking with Hands in Pockets’

Police detain local man from Pontiac, Michigan in freezing temperatures on Thanksgiving for ‘walking with his hands in pockets‘.

Llywellyn Bird  |  The Pontiac Tribune

As if we needed another example of the madness that is our burgeoning police state to surface this week, a man from Michigan was detained Thursday under suspicion of walking with his hands in his pockets in freezing temperatures.

If you weren’t aware that walking with your hands in your pockets is a crime, it’s because it isn’t. But that didn’t stop the officer from detaining the man.

The incident occurred at 4:30 pm on Thanksgiving day in the city of Pontiac, when Brandon McKean was walking on Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard and Michigan Avenue, and was detained and questioned by the police officer. The temperature in Pontiac reached a high of 33º on Thanksgiving.

You were walking by,” the officer told McKean. “You were making people nervous.

The encounter was apparently set off by a call placed to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, and McKean captured video on his phone. When pressing whether this was actually the reason for being stopped, the officer affirmed, saying:

“Yeah, they said you had your hands in your pocket.”

The Pontiac Tribune reached McKean for comment, and confirmed the details.

I was just walking from my friend’s house looking at Facebook,” he said, “when he drove past and stopped.”

Police are required to have “reasonable suspicion” that a crime has been, or is about to be, committed in order to detain a citizen. And an incident like this, while peaceful, is indicative of the increasingly invasive actions of police, and an erosion of civil liberties by challenging the far stretches of what could be considered “reasonable suspicion.”

In this instance, the only reasonable suspicion the officer disclosed was an alleged call received by police from a nervous resident. He further justified stopping McKean by referencing frequent robberies that occur in Pontiac, which is far too broad to suspect any potential wrongdoing.

This coming at a time when public police scrutiny, especially as it concerns race relations, is in the national spotlight due to the recent events in Ferguson Missouri.

Given the context of recent current events, we should note that Brandon McKean is a black man and was detained by a white police officer. What role this played is undetermined, but what’s certain is that this man never should have been detained while simply travelling freely, and without having committed a crime.


Follow Llywellyn Bird on Twitter @llywbird