BRANDON KILBOURNE, 37
In April 2009, I was in Fort Collins on a research trip. I was staying in a motel and I’d just gotten to town. I went and bought some lunch food for the week from Albertsons. I’m crossing back across the parking lot and as I look over my shoulder, I see a cop car slowly pull to a stop behind me, and the officer is suddenly yelling something at me. I turn around and look at him. I hadn’t heard what he said. I saw he was yelling. He says, “Put your bags on the ground, and put your hands on your head.” I’m just staring at him. And then he gets out of his car, pushes the door open, his hand goes to his right hip, and he says, “Put your bags on the ground, put your hands on your head.” I figured he’s on a power trip, so I’m just going to comply and we’ll sort this out. I put my bags down, put my hands on my head. He comes over and then he takes one of my arms and puts it in a lock. He frisked my body and put that hand in a handcuff. He tells me there’s a warrant for my arrest. And I’m like, “What?” He’s frisking everywhere on my body, has my arm in a lock, and he cuffs me. “How do you mean to arrest me if you don’t know my name?”
He didn’t ask me who I was—at least not that I’d heard. But he says, “Then why did you stop when I called you McFadden?” I said, “I didn’t hear you call me McFadden. I just saw you lean out the window and yell something. I didn’t hear what you said. So I stopped and I turned around.” He just kept repeating the same question. I said, “Look, my wallet’s in my back pocket, you can check my ID. My name is Kilbourne.” He pulls out my wallet. By this time, three or four other squad cars had come out of nowhere and slammed on the brakes. They’re getting out. But I’m focused on this one officer. I think he finally realized that I’m not gonna change my story. And he uncuffed me, and said, “Oh, I guess you just misunderstood me.” And it was like, that’s what I’ve been saying for ten minutes. Right? He’s trying to be friendly all of a sudden. And so I asked, “Oh yeah, this McFadden guy,” you know, “what’s he look like? What did he do?” He didn’t say what he did, but he said, “Yeah, he’s a suspect and he had your height, build and facial hair.”
So I mean, that’s the thing: If I had refused to put my bags on the ground, to put my hands on my head, if I had tried to thrash or pull away when he was cuffing me, how would that have ended?