DES MOINES, Iowa – A pastor visiting from Virginia claims he was racially profiled by the Des Moines Police Department.
Late Saturday night, Reverend Tony Suarez, says a squad car followed his car into a hotel parking lot after he finished speaking at a hispanic church on the south side.
Suarez who is Colombian, says the squad car followed closely behind him for close to three miles. Suarez was driving a white BMW, loaned to him by a church member during his stay. According to Suarez, he parked his car and the two officers approached him.
“They began to question me for my ID, how I make a living, what I do for money and why I’m in this city.”
Suarez says the officers, Officer Herman and Officer Carter, told him they were looking for a man with dark hair driving a white BMW.
The pastor claims the two said, “You look like a drug dealer. We have a report of a car like yours with a person who looks exactly like you and we are just wondering if there is cocaine in the car. Can we take a look?”
Suarez denied their request.
Sergeant Steve Woody, a spokesperson for the police department, says he has not talked with the officers and cannot confirm the person they may have been looking for. Woody also says they can’t confirm if the descriptions are accurate.
Suarez plans to file a complaint and has written an email to Mayor Frank Cownie, Chief of Police, Judy Bradshaw, and U.S Congressman Tom Latham.
The Des Moines Police Department says once a complaint is filed they will interview both Suarez and the officers and any other witnesses.