Eudora Johnson County Community College student Brendan Martinez is always looking for ways to make extra money. Recently, he was asked to mow the lawn of a family friend while they were away on vacation.
Martinez says not long after arriving at the home about 6 a.m. June 2, he was confronted by a Eudora police officer responding to a suspicious activities call. Martinez was in the backyard of the home when the officer arrived.
“As I got to the back of the fence, I turned the mower off to get the weed eater,” Martinez said. “I saw this cop running at me with a Taser, pointing it over the fence and telling me to stop and come to the fence.”
It’s an incident that Martinez says not only embarrassed him, it also landed him in handcuffs. After explaining why he was there, Martinez said, the officer let him go. Martinez isn’t so much mad because the officer was called, but how he was treated once the officer arrived at the home.
He believes this is a prime example of racial profiling.
“I think it’s a small-town attitude where they’re not used to being around African-Americans,” Martinez said. “It is sad, but people just need to learn just to treat other people with courtesy.”
The city of Eudora wouldn’t confirm to the Lawrence Journal-World whether a Taser was pulled. And the police chief would not comment on the incident.
City Administrator John Harrenstein did issue a statement:
“At this time, no formal complaint has been filed with the Eudora police department regarding the situation in question. After a formal complaint is received, the department will conduct a routine investigation of the matter according to existing protocols. As a public service organization, the city of Eudora proactively seeks to meet the needs of citizens through the provision of public safety. According to the city’s standards, these services are provided equally regardless of race, creed, religion, or ethnicity.”
Martinez, who said the officer later apologized, is now seeking a civil rights attorney and plans to file a formal complaint against the officer.