Black Real Estate Agent Photographing Home Questioned By Virginia Police After Neighbors Reported Suspicious Activity
The Black real estate photographer who was questioned by Arlington County Police while photographing a Virginia home last week has filed a complaint against the police department.
Marlon Crutchfield, a 48-year-old licensed real estate agent and photographer was taking pictures of a couple’s Virginia home on Monday. Dec. 21, when he was questioned by Arlington County Police.
Crutchfield, a former U.S. Capitol Police officer and Army veteran, hasn’t been charged with any crime, and believes he was racially profiled.
“I hate to make it about race, but when you find Black men being shot down over frivolous calls, America should be ashamed that this is still going on,” Crutchfield told NBC 4 Washington.
He captured the encounter on his phone and shared the video to Facebook.
Crutchfield was sitting in his car waiting for his appointment at a home in the Foxcroft Heights neighborhood, when he was approached by a white man who asked him what he was doing in the neighborhood and gestured for him to leave. That man also alerted base security that Crutchfield was there.
When it was time for the appointment to begin, Crutchfield went into the home and began working, until there was a knock at the door.
“Like ten minutes later, we hear this knock at the door and it’s Arlington County Police Department, and he’s like, ’Sir, we need to step outside. We want to talk to you.”
Crutchfield initially agreed to step outside and speak to the two officers. However, when police asked for his identification, he declined and began to film the encounter.
“I don’t need to show you my ID because I have not committed any crimes. Have you seen me commit a crime?” Crutchfield asked on of the officers in the video.
Police told Crutchfield someone had reported him for suspicious activity.
“That’s when I really got upset,” Crutchfield told The Washington Post, “If you take someone’s ID, that’s in lieu of detaining them.”
The officer then accused Crutchfield of “escalating the situation.”
“This here is very racist,” Crutchfield’s client told the officers.
The two officers retreated as two more police cars arrived at the scene.
“Three cop cars out here for me,” he says on cellphone video he began to record. “I’m an agent and a photographer, and this is what we get in this climate,” Crutchfield said in the video of the encounter posted to Facebook on Dec. 23.
Arlington Police said in a statement that officers responded to a report of a suspicious person and vehicle, and that a woman had reported a man taking photographs of the Southgate entrance. The department said the encounter lasted around four minutes, an Crutchfield was not arrested.
But Crutchfield said he hadn’t gone near the base’s gate or taken pictures from his car. It’s against the base’s policy to allow pictures of the facility’s access points. He said a woman asked him why he was taking pictures of a home, but Crutchfield said he had only raised his camera to his eye to check the battery level.
In his complaint, Crutchfield said that “the neighbor who called the police lied about me taking pictures of the military base nearby to trigger a police response.” He said it was humiliating to be questioned by police in front of a client and that “frivolous abuse of emergency services to humiliate, embarrass and incite fear in upstanding Black citizens must be taken more seriously.”
The Arlington County Police Department said it takes seriously the responsibility to protect the community “without reservation.”
This content was originally published here.