Greensboro, NC — In the American police state, sitting on your own porch in broad daylight, doing nothing untoward, could still earn a punch in the face and tackling to the ground by an ignorant, rogue cop — even if you’re fully compliant and respectful.
Dejuan Yourse found that out the hard way on June 17, when he waited for his mom to meet him at the Greensboro, North Carolina, house he’d intermittently shared with her for years. Because he did not have a current key to the home, Yourse’s mother told him to relax on the porch until she arrived.
Officer Travis Cole and an as-yet unidentified female officer, however, pulled up before she got there, and proceeded to harass, intimidate, insult, and ultimately brutalize Yourse — on his own front porch — for literally no reason.
Body camera footage revealed the male officer’s unjustified “disturbing” excessive force, and — although far too many similar incidents go unpunished — this time, video led to some semblance of justice.
Although the encounter begins cordially enough — the officers politely ask basic investigatory questions after being summoned to the scene by someone unfamiliar with Yourse who had assumed it was a case of breaking and entering — the tension escalates quickly, thanks to Cole’s assumption the man must be lying. Were it not for the costumes and badges of the police, the startling encounter would constitute pure thuggery.
“What are you doin’ breaking into your mom’s house?” the officer asks, only partly sarcastically.
“I’m not breaking in here,” Yourse replies, laughing.
Cole asks about the shovel next to the man, having been alerted to its presence by the unknown caller. Yourse explains he found it in the yard and then demonstrates how he pried open bottom of the automatic garage door to ensure the family dogs weren’t inside.
Intent to find trouble where none exists, Cole continues questioning the man, remarking, “you can understand what it looks like.”
“Yes, sir,” Yourse acknowledges repeatedly, adding he’d lived at the address for ten years.
Still, Cole persists — somehow convinced a burglar would park their own car in the driveway of the house they intend to rob, and then wait on the front porch in the middle of the day for its occupants to return.
To prove he isn’t lying, Yourse resorts to calling his mother, even handing the phone to Cole as it rings on speaker, to show him the number he dialed. Unfortunately and likely because she’s driving to meet her son, the call goes to voicemail.
Having lived in the home for a decade, Yourse appears stunned by the cop’s obvious skepticism about his belonging there, but still maintains a respectful tone and does not hesitate to provide information. When the call to his mother fails to alleviate the situation, Yourse tells the cop his neighbors would be more than happy to verify his identity — and even offers to contact them by phone.
There was a time where officers would perform due diligence when investigating a situation, and in this instance, with two officers on scene, one of the pair should have approached the neighbors Yourse repeatedly insists would verify he lived at that address.
Instead the pair take it upon themselves to assume the black man in the quiet neighborhood must be fabricating a tale. After quibbling over the pronunciation of the man’s unusual last name — and even though Yourse has been polite, compliant, and phenomenally restrained, given the circumstances — Cole inexplicably decides he’s had enough.
Poking Yourse with his finger, the thug cop firmly orders, “I said sit down.”
“Hey, man, why are you doing this?” Yourse asks, showing obvious frustration at the needless harassment, again adding the address matches that on his ID, which he doesn’t happen to have with him.
Cole then ironically tells the man he’s acting suspiciously ‘animated,’ which, of course, happened purely in response to the officer’s own rude escalation of the encounter.
Fed up, Yourse dials someone and asks them to come to the house to prove he lives there.
“Okay, off the phone,” Cole says, snatching the phone right out of the man’s hand.
“Hey, man, you can’t grab my phone like that!”
But it’s too late. Cole made the decision when he arrived on scene that — no natter what the black man on the front porch had to say — he didn’t belong and would be going to jail.
Video shows the officer physically grab Yourse in an attempt to place him in handcuffs — for no reason.
Repeatedly, the man asks the cop what he’s doing and tells him, rightly, he “can’t do this.”
Cole insists he’s resisting, but Yourse says again and again, “I am not resisting!”
As the female officer joins the struggling pair on Yourse’s front porch, Cole suddenly punches the man in the eye.
Pulling him from the chair and onto the bricks, Cole over and over again tells Yourse to stop resisting — even though it’s clear the physically imposing and highly perplexed man did not do so, even after being decked in the face.
After wrangling two pairs of cuffs onto Yourse’s wrists, the pair of costumed thugs drag him across his lawn toward a waiting patrol car, stopping at one point with the man face down.
“Sit right here! Do NOT fuckin’ move. Don’t say another damned word,” Cole bellows at the innocent man. “This is not working out, apparently.”
“Be an adult,” the female cop patronizingly adds.
“What did I do?” Yourse demands.
“Be an adult. Be an adult.”
In an astonishingly rare outcome, however, the body cam footage of Yourse’s encounter with the errant cops led to a bit of justice. To avoid being charged, Cole resigned in August — but, ordinarily, that would mean he’d be free to simply move along to another department to brutalize other innocent civilians.
“I was very concerned and disturbed about what I saw,” said Greensboro City Manager Jim Westmoreland last week after city officials viewed both officers’ body camera footage, local FOX8 reported.
“Well it’s horrible!” exclaimed City Councilman Mike Barber. “And I say this as a white male representative.
“If you get down to common decency and respect, that officer didn’t show it.”
Greensboro Police Chief Wayne Scott told FOX8, “I wouldn’t dare as a chief tell anyone this kinda thing never happens. We have around 900 employees, over 680 sworn police officers on any given day getting dozens of calls and interactions. But what they can be assured of is we take this very serious.”
On Monday, Greensboro City Council voted unanimously, 8 to 0, in favor of the permanent suspension of Cole’s law enforcement certification — cementing not only his resignation from the Greensboro force, but from any police work in any department. Mayor Nancy Vaughn apologized to Yourse, who attended the heated meeting, calling the incident “ugly.”
Many in attendance felt Cole — and the female officer — should be criminally charged. Yourse did not sustain serious injuries, despite the blow to his eye.
However, that permanent suspension might have, indeed, saved a life — Cole’s attack on Dejuan Yourse wasn’t his first time harassing and accosting innocent people.
According to FOX8, the former officer once arrested two brothers for public intoxication and blocking traffic — on an empty street — as well as resisting arrest.
One brother recorded the peaceful arrest on his cell phone, disproving Cole’s claims and eventually allowing charges to be dropped and forcing the officer to be suspended.
Considering the thuggery, needless harassment, and blatant rudeness, contempt, and pretentiousness these bully cops displayed on film, the Council’s decision to prohibit Travis Cole ever to work in law enforcement again might be the best outcome possible.
This is what sitting on your own porch waiting for mom, looks like in a police state: