Dion Humphrey, 19, spent 2 days in the Intensive Care Unit of a Phoenix, Arizona hospital after being misidentified as a suspect in an armed robbery and attempted murder and shot with baton rounds.
According to Humphrey’s account of the encounter, he was walking home after dropping his sister off at school when he heard what he thought was a gunshot from a white vehicle so he started running.
The teen was unaware at the time that the sound he heard came from an unmarked car occupied by the Phoenix Police Department and the ATF. The sound he thought was a gunshot was an ATF agent firing a stun grenade at him because they thought he was a suspect in a case being investigated by the Special Assignment Unit.
According to Humphrey, he was then blocked off by a second unmarked car, shot with what he would later find out was a baton round, and then tackled to the ground.
A spokesperson for the ATF told ABC15 that it was a Phoenix police officer who fired the baton rounds.
“They didn’t respond to him in any humane fashion,” said his father, William Humphrey.
Humphrey, who weighs no more than 90 pounds, suffers from a medical condition known as sickle cell anemia and asthma which makes him very fragile, according to his family.
Authorities said after questioning Humphrey for hours, they drove him home.
They also said a paramedic evaluated the teen before he was released.
Humphrey was in visible pain, so his father took him to the hospital, where he spent two days in the intensive care unit, according to a post written by William Humphrey on a GoFundMe page.
Authorities told ABC15 that they misidentified the teen because they were searching for his half brother Dion for questioning regarding an armed robbery that occurred on January 9. The robbery left a 66-year-old man in critical condition after the robbery suspects shot him. Two of the suspects, both teens, were arrested, however, there are two more people police are looking for in relation to the robbery and shooting.
Humphrey’s father says his half brother, who grew up with the mother, hasn’t lived in the same home for over a decade.
Dion’s father stated that his son doesn’t look like his half brother. According to pictures, the half brother has dreadlocks, facial hair, and tattoos.
Police say Humphrey was wearing a beanie at the time when they mistook him for Thornton.
“It definitely makes me question if he was profiled,” said Dion’s father.
ATF agents say that there will not be an investigation into the case, because it was a mistake by agents.
In a statement provided to The Arizona Republic, Sergeant Tommy Thompson, a spokesperson for the Phoenix Police Department, said, “Instead of complying with the commands of the officers attempting to take him into custody, the man ran.”
“To ensure that the man, believed to be a suspect in the armed robbery, didn’t get away and create a greater danger, keep in mind this occurred near a school, where he had just come from, the SAU officers shot him with a baton round. He was then taken into custody,” Thompson told the Republic, adding that they “determined he was not a suspect in the armed robbery.”
The family plans to file a formal complaint against the department.
William Humphrey says he wants to sue the department and is seeking legal representation. He launched the GoFundMe to raise $200,000 to hire an attorney.