Paterson, NJIn February 2019, Nijeer Parks walked into the Woodbridge Police Department to clear his name.
Parks, a 31-year-old Black man living in Paterson, New Jersey, had received a frantic phone call from his grandmother telling him that police from Woodbridge, a town 30 miles away, had come looking for him at the apartment they shared. This was all a misunderstanding, he had thought. Parks had trouble with the law in his past, but that was behind him. Since being released from prison on drug-related charges, he had changed his life and was now working a steady job as a carpenter.
Standing at the desk of the police station, holding an envelope with his Social Security card and identification, Parks was ready to clear his name. It wouldn’t be so easy.
“Four or five minutes later as me and [the clerk] were talking, two other officers walk up and tell me to put my hands behind my back,” Parks recalled in an interview with CNN Business. “He’s like, ‘Put your hands behind your back. You’re under arrest.'”