Monona police briefly handcuff the Black man who was the rightful resident.
Body camera footage released Friday by the Monona police department shows police officers entering the rental home of two African American men without a warrant, weapons drawn and without knocking first.
The 13-minute-long video begins with two officers arriving at a home on the 5100 block of Arrowhead Drive. The officers are seen opening the unlocked door before one of them shouts, “Police department. Anyone here?” This occurs around one minute and 30 seconds into the video.
One of the men, later identified as Keonte Furdge, a 2016 graduate of Monona Grove High School, can be heard about one minute later, but he does not come to the door. Officers call for backup and a third officer arrives. The two officers at the front of the house remain outside the house with the front door open for five minutes.
At that point, with weapons drawn, they enter the house, with one saying “Police, come out with your hands up.”
Furdge walks into the living room and one officer approaches him to handcuff him. When he asks why he is being detained, the officer tells Furdge “Because you don’t live here. The person who lived here passed away.”
It is then clear the other officer recognizes Furdge, presumably from his time as a Monona Grove football player. Furdge tells the officer to call the football coach, who the officer appears to know as well.
The home, owned by the deceased mother of a Monona Grove football coach Mark Rundle, had recently been rented to Furdge and Toren Young. Both men played football for Monona Grove High School. Young had just graduated from the University of Iowa where he was a running back for the Hawkeyes.
The officer then begins to explain why they were called but Furdge interrupts him.
“I know, I’m a Black man and it’s that lady right there, even though she waved at me,” Furdge tells the officers, who respond by saying it was a different neighbor who called police.
The incident comes at a time when people across the country have been protesting police violence against African Americans daily since the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers May 25.
It also follows a pattern of white people calling the police on African Americans who are not committing a crime but doing normal, everyday activities.
Two recent examples that behavior made headlines included a white woman, Amy Cooper, calling the New York Police on Christian Cooper, an African American man, after he asked her to follow the rules and put her dog on a leash.
On Feb. 23, Ahmaud Arbery was killed by two white men in Georgia while out for a jog. The men said they thought he was a burglar.
After the officers remove the handcuffs from Furdge, they say they plan to call the coach. They ask how many vehicles the men will have at the house and inform Furdge they will ask the coach to call the neighbors to share the information, “so this crap doesn’t happen again … I don’t want to put you through it again,” one of the officers tells Furdge.
Monona Mayor Mary O’Connor hosted a Facebook live talk Friday night to talk about the incident and racial bias in the small city located next to Madison. She said Furdge and Young had filed a complaint with the department and “regardless of the findings” change needed to occur to address “racial bias in Monona.”
“They (the officers) were right in the fact that this was a misunderstanding but, this is a misunderstanding that we as a community cannot accept nor afford,” wrote Young in a Facebook post about the incident. “All it took was one wrong move and the outcome would have been very different. We can do better than this!”