DES MOINES, Iowa -- Laural Clinton, a Des Moines mother with three African-American sons remembers the July night vividly. "I cried and I felt like they wanted to set up my son to injure him."
It is a situation Laural Clinton says she prepared all of her sons for, hoping they'd never need her advice.
Des Moines police dash and body cam video on July 15th shows her son Jared Clinton riding passenger with his friend Montray Little when the two were stopped by Des Moines police officer Kevin Thies and Natalie Heinemann. Video shows Officer Thies telling Little, "I'm gonna be honest with you, it smells like marijuana in the car and I can see shake on the ground and your buddy is giving me the idea that maybe he's got a gun."
Later in the video, Little asked, "Officer can I ask you why?" Thies responded, "Because I just told you. Step out of the car. If you don't want to go to jail please listen. I told you that I'm a cop. Face the car when you step out, face the car when you step out, face the car when you step out. Don't flex. I don't know what you're doing man."
Laural says the men were never told why they were pulled over and believes the two were guilty until proven innocent. Body cam video also shows Officer Heinemann having a conversation with Jared Clinton, asking him about his heavy breathing. She said, "Why don't you like being pulled over by police?"
Jared's mother says situations like what is in the video can be a strong reason why her son does not like being pulled over. She said, "I want to be able to tell my sons to trust the police. They are here to help but if this is the way they are going to engage with these young men we are going to have a problem and they aren't going to trust you."
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement claims officer Thies has a history of similar traffic stops. They claim Polk County booking records show that of Thies' 282 arrests in 2017, 100% were black. When looking at interference with official acts charges, twenty-six were black compared to five white. All numbers Des Moines police strongly contest. Sergeant Paul Parizek with the department says "These are horribly inaccurate. We are finding right now it is nowhere near one hundred percent. They do a lot of good work but for an organization whose mission is supposed to be community improvement, this type of attack on us is the most irresponsible thing they could do."
Police found no weapons, no drugs and after briefly detaining Montray, made them empty a bottle of liquor but let both go freely without any citation. Laural said,"I think the chief needs to acknowledge that there is a problem on his police force. Until you acknowledge it, you can't do anything."
The incident is now under administrative review and police cannot comment on the video. Parizek said, "If we had a case where somebody was intentionally, deliberately racial profiling, one, that would shock us and two, they wouldn't last long in our organization."
Thies and Heinemann stay on active duty while the administrative review is being conducted. Iowa CCI members plan to meet with Des Moines City Council members on September 6, to discuss racial profiling within the community.