After an officer took an urn packed with his daughter’s remains and said it tested positive for meth, a Black man filed a federal lawsuit against the Springfield Police Department.
Dartavius Barnes was handcuffed and put into a cop car on April 6, 2020, according to The Washington Post, for allegedly speeding and disregarding a stop sign. During the stop, he complied with the officers, exiting his car when asked and allowing the policemen to search his vehicle, according to bodycam footage. He even admitted to being in possession of marijuana.
During the search, the officers discovered a little container in his car’s center console. They allegedly told Barnes that the container had tested positive for meth or ecstasy. Barnes was shocked when they showed him what they had tested.
“No, no, no, bro, that’s my daughter,” he yelled. “What y’all doing, bro? That’s my daughter!”
He explained to the authorities that the container contained the ashes of his late two-year-old daughter, who died of malnutrition and maltreatment while in her mother’s care. One cop presented the urn to another and talked about what they thought was inside.
One officer remarked, “At first, I assumed it was heroin, then I looked for cocaine, but it appears like it’s definitely molly.” “What are the X pills? “Another cop inquired.
Barnes was eventually let go — without being jailed — after pleading for the return of his daughter’s ashes with his father, who was present at the moment. He has now filed a federal complaint against the city and the department, alleging that the officers improperly opened and spilled some of his daughter’s remains during the tests.
The police have rejected the charges, according to court filings.