A Florida man is facing felony charges after he illegally detained a Black teenager who was riding his bike to basketball practice.
The unidentified 18-year-old was riding his bike through a neighborhood Tampa when he was stopped by Luis Santos. Cellphone video and audio footage released by the office of Hillsborough State’s Attorney Andrew Warren captured part of their interaction.
In the video, he is heard interrogating the teen about his presence in the area. The teen confirmed he lived in the neighborhood by stating his address..
“You’re not going anywhere,” Santos told him. “You’re being detained.”
Santos called 911 and accused his captive of burglarizing cars and stealing a bicycle. “I have somebody breaking into cars. We have it on video,” he told the dispatcher.
Santos identified himself as an “off-duty officer.” He also told the dispatcher he made the teen stand with his hands up.
Santos is not a law enforcement officer.
When the police arrived the teenager was in distress.
“The victim was visibly shaken and hyperventilating when deputies arrived, with his hands still over his head,” the statement said. “He reasonably believed his life may be in jeopardy if he tried to leave or even move. Santos had no lawful authority to restrain a person in a public place and his own recorded words establish that he was restraining the victim, by threat, against his will.”
The responding officers later drove the victim to his practice to ensure he arrived on time.
Santos was arrested and charged with false imprisonment. If convicted, he faces a maximum of five years in prison.
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