TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – 8 On Your Side broke the story Tuesday where a Seffner man was charged with illegally detaining a black student-athlete on his way to basketball practice.
“You’re being detained,” Luis Santos said on cell phone video he recorded. “You’re not going anywhere.”
The dramatic scene shocked many.
But Yvette Lewis, president of the NAACP Hillsborough County Branch, explained to 8 On Your Side that for some black people, this is nothing new.
“I think what happened to the young man is a bad thing, it’s awful,” she said. “I mean, we experience that, but it shouldn’t be a way of life with us. It should not be the norm in our lifestyle.”
According to the Office of State Attorney Andrew Warren, Luis Santos called 911 moments after he stopped the teenager on Lake Shore Ranch Drive around 5:30 in the morning.
Then, prosecutors explained, Santos made false claims.
“I have somebody breaking into cars,” he told a 911 operator on a recorded line.
Prosecutors said he made the situation worse by holding his hand near his pocket, perhaps trying to make the 18-year-old think he had a gun.
“Ten out of ten times they believe that gentleman as opposed to believing the person who was really the victim in this whole thing,” Lewis said.
In this case, responding Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies believed the teen’s version of events and even helped him get to practice, albeit a little late.
Lewis explained how parents have to talk to Black kids and teens about obeying others.
“I’d rather tell my child and teach my child that, than to be standing over my child saying he’s such a good boy and the world should have given him an opportunity.”
Warren hopes the arrest of Santos shows that his behavior is unacceptable.
“We’re not going to tolerate this sort of racial profiling, we’re not going to tolerate vigilantes taking the law into their own hands,” he said. “We have law enforcement who can handle this type of situation, without running the risk that it ends tragically.”