Tempe, AZ — Here at the Free Thought Project, we do not typically use race in a headline like many mainstream and even alternative media sites do in an obvious attempt to stoke racial divide. However, there are instances in which race plays a direct role in the situation and it becomes important to point out. The following incident is one of those cases. A cop looking for a white suspect, holds an innocent black man at gunpoint for several minutes, claiming the black man "fit the description" of the white man he was looking for.
The incident, which the Mayor of Tempe called "disturbing and disappointing" was captured on the offending officer's body camera. The incident is now under investigation and the Tempe Police department said that are "sufficiently concerned about how Officer Ronald Kerzaya" handled the situation.
According to police, On August 29, 2020, Tempe Police Officers responded to the Hawthorn Suites located at 2301 E Southern Ave in regards to a call for service generated by the manager of the hotel. Tempe Police Officer Kerzaya responded to the scene where he met with the manager and was advised that a male pointed a gun at an employee of the hotel. The manager then provided the officer with a description of the suspect as well as the last known location. The manager indicated the suspect, as seen on video surveillance cameras, was possibly going to be exiting the west exterior door of the hotel.
The hotel manager described the suspect as a white male wearing a black shirt and tan pants. Moments later, a black man, who is an employee at the hotel, wearing a light gray shirt and black pants, exited the through the west door and Officer Kerzaya's fear seemingly took over and he claimed that the employee "fit the description."
"I am responding to somebody with a firearm who matches your description," the officer says as he holds the innocent man at gunpoint who, in no way, matches a single detail of the actual suspect other than "male."
The black employee is heard on the body camera footage repeatedly saying, "I am not a threat to you; I work here," while kneeling on the ground with his hands up.
For over three minutes Officer Kerzaya holds the innocent man at gunpoint, berating him and demeaning him. "Are you a cop? You don't tell me what a threat to me is!"
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Kerzaya then held the man at gunpoint "until he could confirm that he was an employee of the hotel," the press release states.
After his gross negligence led to threatening an innocent man's life for several minutes, Kerzaya lets him go. Likely due to the fact that Kerzaya wasted his time threatening the life of an innocent black man for over three minutes, the armed white man who threatened employees got away.
"This incident was not handled in accordance with the professionalism and respectful behavior that we, and the public, have for our officers," police said.
Former Mesa police officer Bill Richardson agrees, saying, "he's there by himself. He's trying to get information, he didn't wait for his backup. It just seemed like the response was flawed from the beginning and they were just asking for trouble one way or the other."
“This type of incident definitely reduces the amount of trust, or continues to erode the amount of trust police officers should expect to have in the community," said Roy Tatem of the East Valley NAACP.
The fact that Kerzaya is even a cop highlights the serious problem among police. TFTP readers may remember last year when we reported on officer Kerzaya before. This insane man tasered an innocent father, who was also black, while the father held his 1-year-old baby. That incident was also captured on body camera footage.