Luis Santos was arrested and charged with false imprisonment for illegally detaining a Black teenager on his way to basketball practice.
What We Know:
- Santos, a 54-year-old Florida man, stopped the teenager at 5:34 a.m. on Saturday and questioned him about where he lived and where he was going. He told the teenager, “You’re not going anywhere. You’re being detained.” Santos recorded the encounter but when he called 911, he told the 911 dispatcher that he was an off-duty police officer. He claims the teen was breaking into cars and stole a bike.
- Santos also reached for his pocket, indicating that he had a gun, and this prompted the teenager to raise his hands over his head. According to the office of Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren, “The victim was visibly shaken and hyperventilating when deputies arrived, with his hands still over his head. He reasonably believed his life may be in jeopardy if he tried to leave or even move.”
- The teenager has since gotten a lawyer and Santos was arrested on charges of false imprisonment and a third-degree felony which could result in up to five years in prison.
- The teenager was described as “a very respectful young man who is an excellent student-athlete preparing to go to college in the fall” according to a member of his family, WWE pro-wrestler Titus O’Neil.
- This incident sparked memories of the fatal killing of Trayvon Martin, a Black teenager who was killed by a Peruvian German American, George Zimmerman in February 2012. Martin was killed because Zimmerman accused him of being a suspect in a series of burglaries after seeing him walking home from a convenience store. Zimmerman was acquitted of second-degree murder and manslaughter.
Santos was released on a $2,000 bond on July 25. He describes himself as Hispanic and says he worked as a shop assistant in Tampa, Florida.