After Terrifying Stop, Family Wonders If Hazen Police Went Too Far

After Terrifying Stop, Family Wonders If Hazen Police Went Too Far

A woman said she and her family were the victims of racial profiling while driving through Arkansas.
HAZEN, AR- A family traveling from Texas through Arkansas on their way home to Tennessee began being followed by a police vehicle around Hazen. 

"He pulled up beside us and looked into the vehicle," said Ruby Holland-Hutchins. "Then followed us two more miles before he pulled us over."

They at first assumed it was a routine traffic stop.

"When he came to the vehicle his attitude was very aggressive very hostile," she said.

The family had been visiting Hutchins' elderly father.

In the car was her daughter, granddaughter, and her brother driving the vehicle.

They complied with the officers requests and thought they would soon be on their way.

"When he comes back to the car he has a clip board in his hand and paper asking my brother to step out of the vehicle," she said. "And when he stepped out he said I want you to give me permission and sign to search this vehicle."

Hutchins said she told her brother he did not have to sign anything.

"Then the officer became more aggressive and angry," she said.

That's when they called 9-1-1 and began capturing video on cell phones.

"Explaining to dispatchers we're on i-40, we don't know where and there's an officer here being very rude, very aggressive," she said. "And we feel like the situation is going to get out of hand and I feel like we are in danger."

Eventually they were free to go, nearly two hours spent on the side of a cold rainy highway, never cited for a single infraction.

Hutchins is a prominent pastor in the Memphis community a detail we had to find out ourselves, because she said this is not about who she is but what happened to her brother.

"Racism is still prominent and prevalent and we need to make steps and strides to treat all people like Americans," she said.

Hutchins said the Chief of Hazen Police has since apologized, but she hopes they use this situation as an opportunity for additional training for officers.

We also spoke to Hazen police about this and their chief said they have reviewed the dashboard video and racial profiling did not happen.

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