Arlington, TX — For fitting the description in the land of the free, police officers will claim the authority to violently pursue, harass, and initiate violence against you. Your innocence is of no consequence when it comes to police claiming you "look like a criminal." In so many of the incidents on which TFTP reports, the majority of these cases involve innocent black men and cops have no problem laying waste to their rights. In the following instance, however, it was an innocent black woman who suffered — after cops mistook her for a man.
On the night she was assaulted with multiple deadly weapons — pointed at her back, "execution style" — Dawnyale Shanks had committed no crime, had harmed no one, and was nearly killed due to police incompetence.
Over the weekend, police responded to a call of an armed robbery at a nearby convenience store by Shanks' hotel. When they arrived on scene, they were given the description of the suspect who was a black male — who fled to that hotel.
Apparently, the fact that the suspect was a man was of no consequence to the responding officers who seemingly grabbed the first black person they could find, who happened to be Shanks.
Officers claim that "someone there" at the motel directed them to a specific room on the second floor. The room they arrived at was occupied by Shanks, not the suspect.
Officers went to that room and, because they believed the suspect was armed, approached it with their weapons drawn “for their own safety and the safety of other people at the motel,” police said in an emailed statement to the Star-Telegram.
Police then demanded everyone come out of the room at which point, they held Shanks at gunpoint, with the muzzles of their rifles at her back, according to Shanks. Police claim that once they realized Shanks was not the man they were looking for, and in fact, a woman, they released her.
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According to Shanks, however, officers detained her, held her for hours in two different police vehicles, without allowing her to use the restroom or her phone to call for help. According to Shanks, during the incident, she alleges she was “lied to, manipulated, bullied and coerced” by the police.
When she was released, Shanks began filming her interaction with police and she recorded an officer telling her that the guns pointed at her back as cops mistook her for a man, "was a learning curve."
“So this is a learning curve for you?” Shanks asks at the start of the video. “Putting guns to an innocent person’s back? That’s a learning curve?”
As the sergeant stares blankly back at Shanks, she continued to express her frustration.
“That’s a learning curve,” Shanks says in the TikTok video, her voice shaky. “You put guns to my face. That’s a learning curve for you? That’s a learning curve? You put guns to my back. That’s a learning curve? I could have died. And that’s a ... learning curve to you?”
Police said that off video, the sergeant explained to Shanks that every incident they respond to is a "learning experience," and they told the Star Telegram that Shanks' video is "missing context."
“I was in shock. I didn’t have time to fully process the situation, and when she referred to my life possibly ending as a learning curve, it was at that moment that it registered, it clicked that I’m nothing but an experiment to these people, that hurt, that cut me deep,” she said in a TikTok video.
After the incident, Shanks said she was given a brochure and a victim’s service hotline number that later denied her compensation. Since then, she has created a GoFundMe page to help pay for a lawyer.