Police Take Down Black Man Holding Baby by Mistake

An internal investigation has been initiated by the police following an incident at an Applebee’s restaurant in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where officers were filmed subduing a Black man who was holding his baby. The man was mistakenly identified as part of a group of hit-and-run suspects believed to be hiding in the restaurant’s restroom.

The incident, which took place on July 20, was captured on a cellphone video by Applebee’s employees. The footage shows officers wrestling the man to the ground, causing a commotion in the restaurant as someone yells for someone to take the baby. The police had been directed to the restaurant in pursuit of suspects in a hit-and-run incident. The suspects were described as a Black man and woman, with the woman wearing a red shirt, a scarf, and a bun, and carrying a baby. They were reported to be heading towards a Kohl’s or Menards store. The Applebee’s staff had alerted the police, stating that a group fitting this description had entered the restaurant and seemed anxious.

Upon arrival, the officers identified a man and woman matching the description. However, the woman was wearing a white shirt instead of a red one, and the man was seated, holding a baby. As the man was on the floor, the police ordered him to put his hands behind his back, with an officer using force to ensure compliance. Another officer reported the woman resisting arrest, leading to a disturbance in the restaurant.

The couple, a 24-year-old father and his 21-year-old wife, were charged with less serious misdemeanor charges for resisting an officer and disorderly conduct. The wife was additionally charged for possession of 3.08 grams of marijuana found in her purse after her arrest. The status of the hit-and-run suspects was not disclosed.

The Kenosha Police Department is reviewing the use of force in this incident. The department stated that it has a more rigorous internal process for reviewing the use of force by its officers than what the state requires. The investigation will determine whether the officers’ actions were appropriate and if any disciplinary action or additional training is necessary.

This incident has reignited discussions about racial justice in Kenosha, a city still recovering from the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by a white officer, and the subsequent violent protests. Tanya McLean, the executive director of Leaders of Kenosha, a social justice organization, expressed her outrage at the incident during a news conference.

In the aftermath of the incident, Applebee’s dismissed the restaurant’s manager and reduced the hours of one of the employees who filmed the confrontation. The Vice President of Operations at the local Applebee’s franchisee stated that the safety and well-being of their guests and team members is a top priority and they do not tolerate violence or discrimination.