Know Your Rights: Advice From a Legal Expert

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- What are you legally required to tell police? That question is sparking controversy after a campaign worker was acquitted of harassing an officer.

It happened back in November 2018 when Keilon Hill was stopped during a suspicious person call. What started as a suspicious person call ended with West Des Moines police arresting Hill.

The incident happened in Keith Stewart's front yard.

“I saw the gentleman walking down the street. He seemed to have something in his coat he was trying to keep in there. There was an officer trying to follow him and he just kept walking," Stewart said.

Hill was charged with harassing an officer, but it took a jury 15 minutes to acquit him.

Legal expert Sally Frank says it is a reminder to know your rights.

“No one has an obligation to answer questions from a police officer. People do not have an obligation to find themselves or show identification unless they're driving," Frank said.

Frank said the arrest was centered around the color of Hill's skin.

“I guess it was almost completely. Why was he suspicious and would a white man walking around dressed nicely doing what he was doing have gotten a call in?" Frank said.

State Rep. Ako-Abdul Samad said the incident wouldn't have happened if Hill was white.

“In 2018, 2019 racism exists. We don't want it to. We don't want to talk about it, and that's the problem. We don't want to talk about it. And until we start having some real conversations about it, then it will continue to exist," Samad said.

Channel 13 reached out to West Des Moines police and they had no comment.

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