As if burying her two nephews, who were shot while sitting in a rented car in the Auburn Gresham community were not enough, Senator Mattie Hunter (D-3rd) late Tuesday night said she is calling for an investigation into the inappropriate behavior of two white policemen who arrested one black man attending the funeral and impounding the car of his white female friend.
After attending the funeral of her nephews, Willie Lee Hunter, 31, and his brother, John Lee Hunter, 25, at the Gatlingâ€™s Chapel, Hunter held the repast at Mr. Gâ€™s Supper Club on 87th and Justine Streets, and that is where the trouble began.
Hunter said they had to leave the club by 6 p.m. and at 5:55 p.m., she said the police â€œhad grabbed some of the people in one car who had come from Missouri and had them spread eagle on the car. I went outside to see what was wrong. The car was parked in Mr. G.â€™s parking lot.
â€œA white girl and two black men were sitting in the car. The white girl owned the car. Some worked at the same company my nephews worked at. They came to the funeral to pay their respects to their co-workers,â€ Senator Hunter said.
When she asked one officer what was going on, she said in essence he told her to go awayâ€¦.that he was working on this. â€œThe white girl was crying saying they had done nothing wrong.â€
Hunter said after the police ran a background check on the passengers, and they allegedly found a warrant for one of them, Maurice Johnson, 24, whom they arrested. However, they also impounded Alyson Hodlerâ€™s car. She now has to pay $2,210.00 to retrieve her 2011 Chevy Impala, and she had to miss two days of work. â€œI canâ€™t get to work without my car,â€ she told this reporter. â€œI feel so distressed over this.
Hunter watched the police as they searched the passengers and Hodlerâ€™s car and when they came across the Hunter brotherâ€™s obituary, she said, â€œone of them start chuckling.â€ She said the officer told Hodler and her friend to get their belongings out of the car and to give them her car keys. A female cop drove away with Hodlerâ€™s car. The sergeant claims he found drugs in the carâ€”a charge Hodler flatly denies. She did say that Johnson had a small amount of marijuana on his person but no drugs were in her car.
When Hunter again asked what was going on, she said the sergeant â€œput his finger in my face and said, â€œYou are the one who passed this law and all we are doing is implementing the law.â€ Hunter added, â€œHe was clearly out-of-control.â€
â€œWhen a black female sergeant came to the scene and asked what was going on, she too was brushed off by this white sergeant,â€ recalled Hunter. She said the policemen were from the 22nd police district.
When the white sergeant told Hunter he was asked to patrol this area, Hunter said, â€œYes, because I am the one who contacted City Hall and requested attention for the wake, burial and the funeral and the repast. I made the request. If there was going to be any trouble, I wanted to make sure there was security.
â€œI donâ€™t appreciate that officer putting his finger in my face. He was talking as if he were pissed off in implementing the law, but the law says you are to write a ticket not arrest someone for having marijuana,â€ she said. Hunter said she later found out that the warrant for Johnson was for an old traffic violation he thought had been cleared up. He is out on bond.
â€œI am filing an official complaint with the Internal Police Review Authority (IPRA),â€ vowed Senator Hunter.Â â€œThe state law says they were supposed to write a ticket for the marijuana.â€ She wants to know the specifics of the charges especially the allegation that â€œnarcoticsâ€ were found in the car. â€œI was there when they searched that car,â€ she said. â€œI saw no narcotics taken out of that vehicle.â€
â€œThis is some of the reasons why these young men donâ€™t trust the police because they donâ€™t tell the truth and do anything to cover themselves,â€ Hunter said. â€œThe police need to release this girlâ€™s car, waive the impounding fee, drop the charges against Johnson and apologize for their conduct. I will be making an official complaint in the morning.â€
When contacted, a police official said, â€œOnce a complaint has been filed, it will be an investigation.â€
Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.