Dr. Armen Henderson racial profiling? Black doctor unloading supplies for the homeless outside his Miami home amid coronavirus pandemic arrested.
The incident occurred on Friday and was caught on video by a security camera outside Dr. Armen Henderson‘s home in Miami, Florida.
The internist who has previously been lauded for his work for Miami’s homeless especially amidst the coronavirus epidemic, was placing old boxes on the front curb of his home for pickup when a police officer approached him regarding complaints of trash dumping in the neighborhood.
The man’s arrest comes as social media commentators point out the police’s tendency to single out black individuals for profiling and abuse.
Would the police cruiser stopped to question Dr. Armen Henderson had he been white?
In surveillance video which captured the ensuing confrontation between the black medical personnel and responding white police officer, Henderson – who works for the University of Miami Health System – is seen moving to and from his white cargo van, which is parked at the curb, with all of its doors open. After a few moments, a police cruiser pulls up to the van.
Henderson, who was wearing a mask, told the officer he was unloading the boxes from his van. The officer, who was not wearing a mask, placed the doctor in handcuffs when denied ID.
As per the dailymail: ‘Henderson has a brief conversation with the sergeant in the vehicle, before turning away, at which point the sergeant exits the car. They have another discussion, after which Henderson, unhooking the mask from his ears, starts walking back to his home.
The sergeant and Henderson then have another conversation, which leads to the sergeant putting zip tie handcuffs on Henderson, who can be seen calling out to someone. The sergeant then leads Henderson back to his cruiser and tells him something, gesticulating in Henderson’s face as he placidly leans against the car.
After a few moments, Henderson’s wife emerges from the home and speaks with the sergeant. She then returns inside, at which point the sergeant removes Henderson’s handcuffs, and when she reappears, she show the sergeant some ID.
As Henderson’s wife and the sergeant speak, Henderson can be seen picking up some gardening equipment and moving it towards the home.’
Speaking with Dr. Armen Henderson it is interesting to note how he approaches his brief detention by @MiamiPD from a physician’s lens, concerned that the Sgt. wasn’t wearing a #mask. You will hear more from him + @Jcolina67 coming up on @WPLGLocal10 at 6p https://t.co/jOgObYUDxy pic.twitter.com/BwNEHnebZL
— Christina Vazquez (@CBoomerVazquez) April 11, 2020
Arrested for failing to provide ID:
Henderson told the Miami Herald that the sergeant had initially said he was patrolling the neighborhood because there had been complaints about people dumping garbage there.
Henderson said that he told the sergeant that he was merely unloading his van, but that he was handcuffed because he didn’t show him ID. The sergeant only released him, Henderson said, after he yelled for his wife and she showed him ID.
Henderson said that the sergeant told him ‘you should refer to me as sir, or sergeant when talking to me.’
Henderson also said that he did not tell the sergeant that he was a doctor and that he didn’t swear at him either. ‘He just grabbed my arms and cuffed me,’ he said.
Henderson, a father of a two young children, told Local 10 that he had been unloading tents from the van, ahead of taking them to the homeless population in Downtown Miami that day.
He said that he was in a hurry to get the van unloaded so that he could be downtown before noon.
Henderson, who had been wearing a mask during the confrontation, questioned why the sergeant was so quick to stop him and why he wasn’t wearing a mask while he did it.
Told Henderson, ‘You should keep your distance between people, especially and limit your interactions. I was taking tents out of my car, why was that even a reason to stop and talk to me?
‘It is because of those reasons the number of cases were going up. Why was he so ready to approach me without a mask on regardless or not if I was littering?’ he added.
Since video of the incident went public, Miami Police has revealed that they will be conducting an internal investigation into what happened.
.@MiamiPD @Jcolina67 in a Twitter video message says the department “does not condone or accept profiling of any kind.” He also provides context in terms of the “genesis of the stop” which includes complaints of #illegaldumping in the #flagami neighborhood. 👇 https://t.co/KbG5u1h5Az pic.twitter.com/cCocwAsrgR
— Christina Vazquez (@CBoomerVazquez) April 11, 2020
Miami police perpetrating racial profiling?
Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina said in a video posted to social media Saturday that his agency doesn’t condone or accept profiling of any kind.
Colina said that the context of the sergeant’s stop was that police had received a ‘litany of complaints’ about illegal dumping in the neighborhood.
‘There is a cargo van that is parked in front of that home. It appears to be trash that is being off-loaded,’ Colina said. ‘That is the genesis of the stop. What happens after that, what’s being discussed, the actions taken, etc., all that needs to be investigated. And it will be investigated.’
Henderson made headlines on March 28 after he and other volunteers were profiled for their work on testing Downtown Miami’s homeless community for coronavirus and providing them with hand sanitizer, tents, food and other amenities.
‘These people are the most vulnerable,’ Henderson told the Miami Herald about why testing the homeless for coronavirus was so important. ‘They’re also at highest risk for getting the virus and for spreading it.’
Florida as of Saturday night has recorded 18,986 coronavirus infections according to Johns Hopkins University data. More than 446 people in the state have died of COVID-19, including 84 in Miami-Dade.
Just on 532,879 people have contracted the virus across the United States with more than 20,577 deaths – more than any other nation in the world.