10/31/2007Michigan Teen Sues Over Arrest for Loud Car Stereo
A teenager arrested for driving with a loud stereo sues the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan.
A teenage motorist arrested after being stopped for having a loud car stereo is suing the city of Kalamazoo, Michigan. The controversy centers on the actions of Kalamazoo Police Department Officers Peter Hoyt and Jim Williams who ordered Terance Moore, now 18, to pull on August 3, 2006 around 12:30pm. Although the incident began with accusations of loud music, it ended with the youth in handcuffs for his refusal to volunteer his personal cell phone number. A dashcam video recording offered a third explanation for the arrest.
"Even though I'm writing this ticket, I need to arrest him so I can get in that car to search it," Officer Hoyt explained to Officer Williams in a conversation beyond Moore's hearing.
The search found nothing. Moore had never been in trouble with the police before and had merely been headed to his grandmother's house when stopped in front of Martin Luther King Jr Park. Moore had been a senior at Kalamazoo Central High intending to move on to study film at Clark Atlanta University.
The officers insisted that Moore was uncooperative as they asked for information such as his social security number, place of employment and cell phone number.
"I'm asking you for information so that we can contact you if we have questions or concerns," one officer explained.
The teenager offered his mother's phone number, even repeating it to a bystander so that she could be contacted. The officer dismissed it as irrelevant.
"What truly disturbs me, is so many of our young, black males have become accustomed to the treatment they endure and fearful that any encounter with police will automatically end in a wrongful arrest, or worse, life-threatening violence," Moore's mother, Yolanda Neals, said. "They feel hopeless because it has become so routine."
The city's broadly worded ordinance allows motorists to be put behind bars if a police officer believes the car stereo volume level is too high. A bystander questioned one officer why Moore was being taken away and how much the fine would be.
"If he can come up with fifty bucks, I'll be happy with that," the officer explained to the bystander.
View video of incident obtained by the Kalamazoo Gazette newspaper.