Lawsuit Accuses Des Moines Police Officers of Racial Bias

DES MOINES, Iowa - A Des Moines man is accusing city police of racial bias during a traffic stop.

A lawsuit filed this month by 22-year-old Domeco Fugenschuh says officers pulled him over on July 6, 2018, without probable cause, when they arrested and charged him with possession of a controlled substance and a traffic violation for cutting off another car.

The possession charge was later dropped, but Fugenschuh was convicted of a traffic violation.

Two officers, Brian Minnehan and Ryan Steinkamp, as well as Des Moines Police Chief Dana Wingert are named in the lawsuit that seeks to have the misdemeanor traffic conviction dismissed, along with damages. The suit also claims officers Steinkamp and Minnehan arrest a disproportionate number of African Americans.

Des Moines Police says they are not able to comment about ongoing litigation.

Video footage that was denied during Fugenschuh's court trial shows officers asking Fugenschuh to exit his vehicle and quickly handcuffing him. It also shows him extending his middle finger before being pulled over.

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